What began as a home-brew hobby has turned into a thriving brewery business for Kevin DeLange and his wife Michelle. Kevin is the President of Dry Dock Brewing Co, an Aurora base craft brewery that began in 2005. Dry Dock Brewing began winning awards for its beer as early as 2006, winning the World Beer Cup Gold H.M.S Victory ESB in the Special or Best Bitter category. Since then, Dry Dock has won 3 additional World Beer Cup awards and 11 Great American Beer Festival medals including Small Brewing Company of the Year in 2009.
Kevin and Michelle began their relationship with the U.S. Small Business Administration by utilizing SBA’s 7(a) loan program. In 2009 and again in 2011 they used the 7(a) loan program to finance tenant improvements and to purchase an additional bottling machine, fermenters and kegs. They recently were approved for an SBA 504 loan to finance a 30,000 square foot building in Aurora Colorado. The new facility will house a 4-vessel, 40 barrel brew-house that will eventually be capable of producing more than 60,000 barrels of beer per year (one barrel is 31 U.S. gallons). Their goal is to brew 12,000 barrels in the first year. In addition to utilizing SBA’s loan guaranty programs, Kevin is a participant in the 2012 SBA Emerging 200 Initiative – a 7-month curriculum that enables participants to engage in focused development and expansion strategies for their business.
Since opening, Dry Dock Brewing has never been able to keep up with the demand for their award-winning beer. Kevin and Michelle’s approach to growth has been incremental and slow – all part of their plan to grow from a small brewery to a medium-sized brewery. Their production has grown from 300 barrels in 2006 to 3,200 barrels projected for 2012. On a typical Friday night, the brewery will pour 15 barrels or 4,200 glasses of beer. Pretty impressive for a guy from Iowa whose business started as a hobby!