Nicholson Kovac Announces “Last Plan Standing” Winner

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Trio of Virginia Siblings Win IMC Plan Valued at $100,000

...the passion and vision they something that our team can get excited about.

Nicholson Kovac, Inc. has announced The Portner Brewhouse and Brewing Studio ProgramTM of Alexandria, Va as the winner of its entrepreneur contest "The Last Plan Standing.” Catherine, Margaret and Charles Portner, a group of three siblings have won an integrated marketing communications plan valued at $100,000.

Nicholson Kovac will be working with the Portners over the next several months using NK’s proprietary system of proven process models, putting Relevant IngenuitySM to work to develop marketing communications strategies and tactics including a recommended creative approach for branding, advertising, sales collateral, Web graphics and more.

The winner was chosen based on a number of variables, primarily the live presentation all three finalist contestants made in Kansas City on May 4. “The Portners are very impressive,” said Pete Kovac, Nicholson Kovac CEO and president. “Their business plan is top notch, their presentation was extremely well done and the passion and vision they have in starting a business based on their great-great grandfather’s legacy is something that our team can get very excited about. They also have a very innovative approach planned for The Portner Brewhouse with its Brewing Studio ProgramTM – we see that as having broad potential and business appeal beyond the Brewhouse.”

Catherine Portner, the eldest, is working on her MBA at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. She plans to launch the business upon graduation in 2012. Babson is recognized internationally for its entrepreneurial leadership and U.S. News & World Report has ranked Babson’s MBA program #1 in entrepreneurship for the 18 straight years.

Margaret will is a junior at Barton College in business management and accounting; and Charles is a freshman at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC).
Robert Portner was a pioneer, legend and inventor who founded the largest pre-Prohibition brewing company in the South – The Robert Portner Brewing Company. He emigrated from Germany and operated the brewery from 1869 until the State of Virginia passed Prohibition in 1916. Catherine, Margaret and Charles Portner are three of his great-great- grandchildren embarking on their own journey to reestablish the family business by opening The Portner Brewhouse and the Brewing Studio ProgramTM.

The Portner Brewhouse will be a brewpub/restaurant offering locally-brewed craft beer, including original recipes from The Robert Portner Brewing Company, and a full restaurant menu featuring historic beer recipes. The Brewing Studio ProgramTM will be a business incubator for aspiring and small independent brewers; it will minimize the risk for individuals interested in joining the industry by market-testing their product and compiling customer feedback/sales data. Licensed brewers will also be able to utilize the firm’s contract-brewing services, which will offer smaller minimum batch orders than other contract breweries.

The Robert Portner Brewing Company and its supporting industries were originally located in Old Town Alexandria, Va where the Portners plan to open their new venture. Alexandria is across the Potomac River from downtown Washington, DC, within walking distance of public transportation and parking, and located among top area tourist attractions including museums and historic sites.

“The Last Plan Standing” competition was designed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business owners to win an integrated marketing communications campaign to help launch their business on the occasion of Nicholson Kovac’s 30th anniversary in business. The program began with entrepreneurs submitting approximately one-minute videos explaining why their new product or service was relevant and ingenious, and why it should be deemed worthy as “The Last Plan Standing.” From all of the submissions, Nicholson Kovac selected 20 semi-finalists and posted those for public viewing/voting. From the 11 quarter-finalists, as well as from information received from the contestants, a panel of Nicholson Kovac professionals and Kansas City-area business leaders reviewed and narrowed the field to the top three.

“We were impressed by the caliber of the entries we received from entrepreneurs and small business owners nationwide as part of ‘The Last Plan Standing’ competition,” said Kovac. “It was tough to narrow the field to the final three, so it was even tougher to pick the winner, as many have the potential to become vibrant, successful companies. We congratulate all of the contestants and wish them much success with their ideas.”

Click here to view the video announcement by Pete Kovac.

About Nicholson Kovac, Inc.
Nicholson Kovac, Inc., an integrated marketing communications company, is counted among the top independent advertising agencies in the country and serves national and global brands. At the heart of Nicholson Kovac's work is Relevant IngenuitySM, a proprietary process of discovering the relevant issues long before the search for creative solutions begins. The result is smarter, more efficient communications that deliver measurable results for clients. For additional details, visit or follow us on Twitter at or

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Sheree Johnson,SVP
Nicholson Kovac, Inc.
(816) 460-3042
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