One of Columbus’ most beloved breweries has maintained close ties to Ohio State since its creation — a connection that runs deeper than just the students that frequent it.
Land-Grant Brewing Company opened at its current location 424 W. Town St. in Franklinton in September 2014. But its true beginning can be traced back even further, to a 2012 Kickstarter campaign in which the founders raised money for what was then “Oval Brewing,” named after Ohio State’s signature icon: The Oval.
In fact, Land-Grant’s Community Partnership Manager Jackie Kemble and Sustainability Manager Vincent Valentino are both Ohio State graduates.
Kemble graduated from Ohio State in 2011 with a degree in political science while Valentino graduated in 2015 with a degree in environment, economy, development and sustainability.
The EEDS program was only in its second year of existence at the time.
In addition to having several Ohio State alumni on its leadership team, Land-Grant has numerous philanthropic and branding ties to Ohio’s only land-grant university. It has hosted several philanthropic events to raise money for both the university and related issues, such as hosting lectures for the astronomy department to honor John Glenn and dedicating a beer to an Ohio State superfan, Orlas King, called “Neutron.”
Kemble and Valentino said Ohio State has been woven into Land-Grant’s fabric from the start.
The name of the brewery was changed from Oval to Land-Grant after the founders realized there already was a European vodka company with the name Oval, Valentino said.
He said after the name change, Land-Grant “wanted to stay true to the Ohio State thing, but maybe not be as on the nose.”
True to its name, the brewery offers numerous beers that pay homage to its connections to the university and college life in general.
The Brewery’s Stiff-Arm IPA is inspired by Ohio State football, while its Skull Session Scarlet Lager pays tribute to the marching band.
The commitment to promoting education goes beyond names, however.
“We give at least $3,000 a year to OSU, and it will be closer to [$5,000] or [$6,000] this year once we have everything all said and done for educational initiatives,” Kemble said.
Valentino said Land-Grant is also looking create an internship for Ohio State’s EEDS program.
“I think there is a good opportunity,” Valentino said. “We still have to figure out the moving parts. If it were to happen, it would probably be in the summer.”
Kemble said the Land-Grant team hopes its commitment to community giving will provide an example to other small businesses.
“We at Land-Grant are hoping that by making this model known to people and being really transparent, other small businesses will realize that they too can have a positive impact if they listen to their communities,” Kemble said. “We hope that by providing an example, other businesses will pick it up.”
The call-backs to Ohio State have undoubtedly paid off for the small brewery, for it had the distinction of being the first craft brewery to have its beer carried at Ohio Stadium.
Kemble said Land-Grant works consistently to be accessible to Ohio State students and faculty.
“If OSU students come and they ask to learn about brewing, the programs that we run, to organize a community happy hour, or just to sit down and chat with our owners about entrepreneurship, we always try to be available,” Kemble said. “Because OSU is our alma mater and so close, we try to do as much with the university as possible.”