HAWKES BREWING CO.
Ingvar KENNE with Nathan and Dave… cheers Bob
Ingvar KENNE teamed up with the creative duo Nathan Lennon and Dave Gibson on a special project to launch ‘Hawkes Brewing Co.’ with our infamous  former PM and beer lover Bob Hawke. We chatted with Co-Founder Nathan Lennon to get some insight into the project:
Where did this idea come from, and how did you two pair up on it?
Funnily enough, this idea came about when Dave and I were sitting in our office at Droga5 NY on Australia Day 2015. It was freezing outside and we definitely did not have the day off work. To say we were homesick is an understatement. We got to talking about who we’d most like to have a beer with and simultaneously said Bob Hawke. It was quite a moment. From there the conversation just naturally drifted to the topic of “what would a beer company with Bob Hawke at the helm look like?”… and could we pull something like that off!

 

Tell me about the creative behind this, what was the vision or thought process?
We put a lot of thought into how an idea like this needed to be executed. We knew it could easily be seen as a gimmick if not done right. It needed to have the foundations in place to not only to be a genuinely successful business in this market but also something that would be given the green light by Mr Hawke himself. We didn’t want to waste his time!
We sat down and essentially turned into strategic planners and eventually came to a brand positioning that felt right. That being that this brand needed to have purpose and feel inextricably connected to who Bob Hawke was as a PM but who is as an Aussie bloke. Build it around the the core values of community, kind-heartedness and giving back, in a way that wasn’t gratuitous or have a “Look! We are a socially-conscious company too!” kind of emptiness to it. We had to put our money where our mouths were. Plus we had to brew world-class beer. Ultimately, people choose beer with their mouths, not how strong they think your brand purpose is. If it fails the taste test, you’re dead in the water.  
And how did the connection with Landcare come into play? Was this an initiative you’d been previously interested in?
We always wanted to build a company that gave back. It was Mr Hawke who chose Landcare as our foundation partner, which made so much sense given his historical connection to the organisation (he helped establish Landcare as a govt-funded, national movement in 1989). Also a great connection back to our product, which is brewed with ingredients sourced from the Aussie farms and farming communities we are looking to support.

 

 

What makes you the most stoked about this project?
Just like Mr Hawke, it combines two of our great passions – drinking beer while doing great things for the country we love. Our added bonus is we get to do it with Bob Hawke!
Do you see more pull for creatives and agency folk to do these kinds of independent projects?
Absolutely. There are plenty of talented and tenacious agency folk who probably have the skill-sets that make them well suited for start-up life. The trick for all of us is having “that idea” that we know will have some breakthrough in the market place, but also backing ourselves to execute it the right way. The lure is there for many, but there’s a  lot of sacrifice and risk that goes with it. Some will take the leap, while others will be content to enjoy the fruits of an industry that can give them more assured security. We chose the latter, but if it does’t work out then we’ll be available for plush ECD roles, heading up your finest beer accounts!
Did you find this process very different from working with an agency behind you? Pros and cons?
YES. Because we can’t delegate. We have to do everything, big or small, shiny or menial. Not everyday is having beers with the ex prime minister. Actually none are. We miss having a talented, hard-working army around us. We often get caught up in the small things – like delivering coasters to venues, arguing with suppliers, trying to work out how to use Excel, or even doing Q&As for industry people (ha!) – so it’s hard to keep stepping back and looking at the big picture, which is, well, kind of important when you run your own company!
Where is this going?
Hopefully to a place where we will soon see Hawke’s Lager tinnies in the hands of Aussies all around the country. And doing interesting things with our partnership with Landcare. We want to do justice to Mr Hawke’s legacy. He backed us to do this, so we want to make him proud. And ourselves. And our mums. I think they already are. We got a ‘congrats’ card in the mail from both of them today. That was nice.