With a spirit of as big as the World’s Largest Muskie in Hayward, as quirky as the Mustard Museum in Middleton and as hearty as the Ice Bowl survivors of 1967 in Green Bay, I’d like to share a thought-starter as quintessential as any celebration that has ever been hosted at a Wisconsin Supper Club.

I’m introducing “Milk’s Flip or Flop Kitchen!” It can be located at any of our fingertips – in Omro, Loyal, Highland, Milwaukee, and places near and far that define those of us Cheeseheads who live in the great state of Wisconsin.

Please Yelp!

My hypothesis is that milk as a beverage is perceived as old-fashioned.

My thought-starter is to create a virtual kitchen that transparently creates, evaluates, introduces and shares new product names, concepts, combinations and marketing campaigns in a retail “Pop-Up” fashion. It will be available to any Wisconsin dairy producer or competitor to use to test consumer acceptance while reducing costs and replication of efforts to create new products.

The co-working story is the marketing campaign. I’ve seen the enduring optimism of many dairy farmers. It’s that old-fashioned optimism that can also be found in many a Wisconsin sports fan. It gave me the idea that we can “modernize” milk using the communication tools, language and style of a new generation to tell its relevant beverage story today.

We live in #AmericasDairyland where dairy found its squeak. And by volume and spirit I’d like to pitch a collaborative effort to reintroduce milk – “It’s NEW!” – via our phones, in coffee houses and via Snapchat.

I’ve been on many a farm in Wisconsin during the past two years. And with wonderment, still wondering who these folks are who are crazy enough to put their livelihood in the hands of sun, rain, wind and soil. Farmers – I call them the original American entrepreneur. They have all the know-how and tenacity to figure something out to keep ’er movin’. But I see now they need our collaborative help.

We need new ideas, reboots of failed ideas, collaborations, crowdsourcing and licensing. We need glass-, cardboard- and plastic-packaging ideas. Perhaps the reintroduction of milk will rely less on the gallon milk jug and more on niche concepts and sizes to regain a share of beveraging in a new-generation home. To kids, teens, Millennials, workouts, families and empty nesters, I believe we have an opportunity to put milk back into homes and a whole lot more.

I’d suggest that America’s Dairyland “owns” the commodity brand we call milk. And therefore we have the authentic brand experience to reintroduce milk to a new generation. It’s packed with protein. It’s known to be the best workout-recovery drink. And it has a wildly supportive fan base. Cheeseheads!

Dear Dairy Task Force 2.0 and the new Dairy Innovation Hub: We have fresh-baked pies and glasses of cold whole milk ready to start a conversation. I know a farmer or two who would like to join me in sharing this thought-starter with your groups. We have a fixer-upper we’d like your help with. Please let me know what flavor of pie you’d like.

Visit www.facebook.com/ListenToFarmers or email MilkItsNEW@gmail.com for more information.

Pete Curran is life-long Cheesehead from New London, Wisconsin, who graduated in 1984 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With two years in agriculture and 30 more in marketing, he’s a storyteller who shares thought-starters to start conversations.

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