Meeting Nolan Ryan for the first time was humbling. Not because of the reasons you might expect, but more because I felt like I’d known him my whole life. I guess lots of people feel this way when they meet a person who has been a part of popular culture for as long as Mr. Ryan has. But what I found remarkable was his ability to make everyone in the room feel not only comfortable, but special. After also meeting his extraordinary life partner Ruth Ryan, I felt like this may be a characteristic they have in common. But before I started working at Nolan Ryan Brands, I knew of the Ryans through the lens of baseball. After only a few weeks with the company, Nolan and his legacy had only grown more in my mind.
I learned in addition to being a hall-of-fame pitcher, he’s also a hall-of-fame cattle rancher who bought his first cow at the ripe old age of 10. I heard and read stories that revealed his strong character and tenacious work ethic, his tireless commitment to family, and his belief in always doing what’s right—even when it’s hard. And I saw firsthand the lengths Nolan Ryan Brands goes to hold its products to a higher standard, showing that these values aren’t just talk. They’re lived, every single day.
So I hadn’t just met an all-time great baseball player. In my mind, I had met an all-time great rancher, businessman, Texan and person. Whatever nervousness I may have had originally, Nolan’s unassuming, easy-going way instantly made me feel comfortable and welcomed.
Shortly after I was introduced to Nolan, I would be a part of the team creating a new brand that honored his legacy, brought together Texas grilling culture with local talent, and offered the quality beef that his company was known for. It would be a craft butcher shop and highly curated beef line, drawing from one simple insight—finding consistently good quality beef is hard.
With all the different grades, different cuts, different breeds and different standards for raising cattle, you’d have to be a beef expert to know what you’re really buying. So this new brand would be that expert. By only offering beef and related grilling provisions that meet Nolan’s high standards for quality, flavor and animal welfare–our customers are able to trust what they’re getting is good.
Working with brand design studio The Butler Bros, interior designers McCray & Co., and digital design shop Digital Retail Partners, we would spend the next six months creating the name, visual identity, retail experience and digital environment for the new brand. Our challenge was how do we make a brand that’s both modern and familiar, capable of reflecting the high-degree of quality and care that goes into our products while also feeling down-to-Earth.
The answer was Goodstock. The name is a combination of the words “good” and “livestock,” a reference to our commitment to only offering beef raised and produced to our standards. The name also speaks to our dedication to being a brand of integrity, one that customers know will never steer them wrong.
The logo was inspired by Nolan’s ranching roots and features letters designed to look like the bent ironwork used in ranch gates–much like the one on his own ranch in south Texas. And like a ranch gate, it stands as a welcome sign for your family and anyone who’s hungry for something different, something special and something they can always count on to be good.And we can’t wait to meet you.
VP of Marketing at Nolan Ryan Brands