5 minutes with… Ryan Walther

Walther

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:20 pm

In July 2018, Wisconsinbly Holdings co-owner Ryan Walther announced the company had raised $1.5 million to fund its formation and growth. Almost one year later, he’s delivered on that promise. In early April, the company’s Milwaukee-based lifestyle and apparel brand, Drink Wisconsinbly, relocated its Walker’s Point pub and merchandise store to a new 3,500-square-foot space within the Milwaukee Bucks’ Entertainment Block near Fiserv Forum. That move came after Drink Wisconsinbly secured a deal to sponsor three craft beer bars inside the new arena. Also in April, the company launched its own line of spirits, starting with Drink Wisconsinbly brandy.

In an interview with BizTimes reporter Maredithe Meyer, Walther discussed the company’s plans for continued growth.

Brand evolution

“This all started as a slogan on a T-shirt: ‘Drink Wisconsinbly.’ Obviously people connected right away and there’s a great connection to this brand – Wisconsinites are extremely loyal and have state pride. We started as unofficially the official lifestyle brand of Wisconsin, but our goal is to someday be the official lifestyle brand of Wisconsin. We plan to be the lifestyle brand of Wisconsin in and around fun and good times and events; across hospitality, for example… Furthermore, we love the idea of getting into consumer packaged goods – salty snacks. Who knows? Maybe a Drink Wisconsinbly brat.”

Bucks collaboration

“(The Deer District) is going to be a big-time entertainment center over the years. The fact that we were able to partner with the Bucks and the Bucks saw our brand and what the brand delivers and the fact that we really celebrate Wisconsin, really delivers on what their objective was: to bring that local flavor and local feel to the Deer District. In addition to that, obviously, with the events, the Bucks, Marquette plays there, it’s a lot of touches to our brand; a lot of people are going to encounter our brand.”

Multigenerational appeal

“Social media and our content is kind of like a mix of The Onion and Barstool Sports of Wisconsin. So on that front, I certainly think that younger generations follow the content, like the content and are fans of the content. That’s kind of the mouthpiece (of DW). So, I think with our media and our attention to content – and it will grow in the future – that’s going to definitely be a driver to that younger audience, certainly. But you know, when you come through the pub, you’ll see the millennials, and you’ll see older generations from all parts of the state, but that’s what I think really separates the brand. Yes, we’ll always have the young ones coming through… but it’s really a brand for many generations.”

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.