SMU football fans have something big to cheer about, and I’m not talking about the team’s new home in the ACC. Rather, it’s the Pony Pils from Lakewood Brewing Company that’s been flying off the shelves of stadium coolers, convenience stores, and supermarkets since it launched in August.
Wim Bens, a 2000 graduate of SMU, founded Lakewood Brewing Company in 2011, but he’s always gravitated toward craft beer. Wim and his parents moved to North Texas from Belgium when he was just seven years old, but spending summers and holidays in Belgium, where the average Belgian consumes 66 gallons of beer per year, kept him close to the beer culture of his native country. Belgians are pretty good at making beer, and Wim found his passion for it early in life.
Pony Pils currently ranks as LBC’s second top-selling beer after The Temptress Imperial Milk Stout, which is quite impressive considering Pony Pils is only sold in retail and food & beverage establishments within a four-square-mile radius of Gerald J. Ford Stadium at SMU. The Temptress is sold throughout Texas and is Texas’ #1 selling stout. Y’all have really Ponied Up with that beer consumption.
Pony Pils is an American Golden Lager, despite the “Pils” name, which implied, to me, that it’s a pilsner. Pony Pils is crisp and light, perfect for game day or every day.
Wim had long wanted to make a beer to bring to the Boulevard, a tradition that started in 2001, the year after Bens graduated. He met with the sports marketing agency that works with SMU with the idea of having a beer for Mustangs made by a fellow Mustang, a novel idea since SMU has no brewery or even hospitality curriculum. Bens’ degree was in Advertising.
After months of meetings, the sports marketing agency and Lakewood Brewing Company came to an agreement that LBC could create a beer called Pony Pils, but it couldn’t use any SMU trademarks and had to include a statement on the can that reads, “This product is not approved or endorsed by SMU.”
No problem. Bens and his brewery team are constantly working on recipes and had one, this crisp, balanced lager, that would make a perfect Pony Pils. They picked a winner; SMU fans and foes alike seem to really love this beer.
Boulevardiers will notice brand activations for Pony Pils with lots of signage and merch for fans. September 30 is an SMU home game and, coincidentally, the 11th anniversary of Lakewood’s founding, so there will be lots to celebrate.
Lakewood Brewing Company’s brewery is in Garland, and it includes a gorgeous tap room, beer garden, and several spacious and attractive rooms for private events. It’s kid and dog friendly and serves light bites, including queso with a touch of Lakewood Lager and pretzels with a Temptress whole grain mustard.
Cheers to a new beer and a new year! Pony Pils Up!