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Honors College Alumnus Wins Bid to Produce Hand Sanitizer in the Midst of COVID-19

LSU Ogden Honors alumnus and former Truman Scholar Jacob Landry is perhaps best known as the founder of Urban South, the largest craft brewery in New Orleans.  But after winning a bid to produce hand sanitizer for the State of Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, he’s also known as an entrepreneurial pioneer, showing how companies can retool during a global pandemic.

Landry was able to identify and partner with other Louisiana manufacturers to secure the raw materials necessary to produce 120,000 bottles of the hard-to-get sanitizer for local hospitals, grocery stores, nursing homes and other small businesses.

He credits his time at the Ogden Honors College for preparing him to think critically and solve real-world problems. A double major in poultry science in the College of Agriculture and political communication in the Manship School of Mass Communication, he made sure to maximize every opportunity to embed himself into the Honors College community. He was a recipient of the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship and the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship. He also had the opportunity to study abroad in Aix-en-Provence in southern France for a year, a trip that both influenced his worldview and ignited a spark that would eventually lead him to found Urban South.

When bars and restaurants shut down in New Orleans, Landry anticipated the brewery’s beer production and output dropping drastically. This was going to be catastrophic for his employees, so his first goal was to make sure he could keep paying his team. 

When he discovered the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) was looking for businesses to produce hand sanitizer, he saw it as a great opportunity to meet a community need, while also keeping his team employed. Even though the brewery hadn’t produced anything other than beer, he knew the company was adept at putting liquid into containers and that they could figure it out. 

“Navigating this challenge in general has taken a whole lot of grit and hustle,” Landry said.  “It certainly reminds me of my intro to the Honors College. I graduated [ high school] with 32 kids from a rural, public school, and was in no way prepared for the rigor of an Honors freshman seminar. It was the first time I'd ever been seriously challenged academically. As an entrepreneur, the challenges have been constant, but this particular one was sudden and unanticipated, so I had to rely on the same sink or swim gut instincts to pivot and keep moving forward.”  

Although producing hand sanitizer has helped keep Urban South afloat, Landry is approaching this endeavor as a short-term effort to help people in his community get access to a scarce essential item like hand sanitizer. In line with the Honors College’s values, Landry continually demonstrates community, excellence, and leadership through his business. It is certain that Landry will lead Urban South in being fearless leaders; producing innovative, world-class beer; and strong community partners.

 

About Urban South Brewery 

Founded in 2016, Urban South Brewery inspires community and fellowship through the gospel of good beer. With deep roots in Louisiana and a new satellite location in Texas, Urban South – HTX, the award-winning brewery is making its mark in the beer industry. Recent accolades include: 2020 Beer Army Awards (Gold and Silver), 2019 U.S. Beer Open Championships (Silver), 2019 Best of Craft Beer Awards (Bronze), 2019 Beer Army Awards (Gold and Silver), 2018 US Beer Open (Silver), 2018 Can Can Awards (Gold, Silver, Bronze) and 2018 Beer Army Awards (Gold). Urban South prides itself on being strong community partners, and – with a belief that beer is a family affair – the brewery features a family-friendly taproom. For more information, please visit UrbanSouthBrewery.com and follow on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for all of the latest information on events and new releases. @urbansouthbeer @urbansouth_htx