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Sweet taste of success

by Jun. 14, 2011, 4:40 PM

Yazoo Brewing Company brews high-quality craft beer and sells it primarily in the Southeast. The company has recently seen unprecedented growth – swelling last year to 45 percent. Now Yazoo is turning to students from the Vanderbilt Accelerator Summer Business Institute to explore what is driving Yazoo’s growth.

The company is considering expanding its manufacturing capacity and needs to know if the current growth in demand is sustainable and a forecast of how big the local and regional market will be in the next five years in order to decide how much additional capacity it should build.

The Accelerator Summer Business Institute is an intense month-long business boot camp run by the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management. In the program, college students and recent graduates from across the country are immersed in a competitive business environment, working to create the winning solution to real challenges from top local and national companies. The students hone essential skills in marketing, sales, finance, real estate, research and corporate strategy, while participating companies receive the brain power, creativity and proposals from at least eight teams of highly motivated millennials.

Final presentations for the Yazoo project will be held on Wednesday, June 15, starting at 8 a.m. at the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management’s Averbuch Auditorium. Please contact Amy Wolf if you’d like to attend.

Other Accelerator projects include:

  • Nashville Predators- Growing a fan base
    2010-11 was hailed as a breakthrough season for the Nashville Predators. They had 16 regular season sellouts and unprecedented postseason success, winning their first ever Stanley Cup playoff series. As the Predators look to capitalize on their recent success and strong community support, establishing a comprehensive grassroots marketing plan is a priority. The Predators are teaming up with Accelerator students to explore the keys to effectively attract and convert new fans through creative, community-centric initiatives. The program’s graduate students will create a full-scale, grassroots campaign to increase the team’s penetration into the market place, leading to higher sales, helping to turn occasional visitors into season ticket holders.
  • Universal Music Group- Monetizing the value of social networks
    Universal Music wants the Accelerator teams to explore social networking trends among artists and corporate brands to develop methods to grow, maintain and monetize Universal Music’s artist’s social networks and consumer databases. Specifically, discover ways to engage members to attract membership and increase brand loyalty to ultimately increase sales. Lastly, estimate the value of UMG’s social media strategy by valuing a Facebook “like,” Twitter follow, and email database capture with regards to converting a sale.
  • Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee- Local branding campaign
    Many people have heard of Junior Achievement, but few are clear on what exactly it does. With eight local constituencies and 24 programs, it is vital to increase awareness of the brand. Junior Achievement Worldwide has recently released a national branding campaign. Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee operates as a franchise and has the option of how much or how little to adopt of the national branding initiatives. The challenge for the Accelerator teams is to create brand identity for Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee and a program for promoting the local brand to all eight of its constituencies.

For more information on Accelerator visit  To follow the progress of the Accelerator students and their projects, check out Accelerator on, search for Vanderbilt Accelerator Summer Business Institute.

Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management is ranked as a top institution by BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, Financial Times and Forbes.