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Innovation Creates Manufacturing Jobs in HUBZone
Flavorman is an international custom product development and ingredient supply company. Known as The Beverage Architects®, Flavorman is able to take a beverage concept through every phase of product development and production, from start through finish, and has developed and designed over 500 products for hundreds of companies to successfully launch in the beverage marketplace. The beverages range from energy drinks and sodas to flavored spirits and liqueurs.
Since 1992, Flavorman has been leading the industry as a single source partner in beverage product development. Clients range from start-up entrepreneurs to major international players in the global beverage market. Their 24,000 square-foot headquarters houses one of the largest full-service beverage product development facilities in the United States, including a state-of-the-art, fully equipped laboratory, warehouse and production area. In-house capabilities, industry expertise and product innovation allow Flavorman to offer its clients a wide range of expert services in order to turn a great idea into revenue.
Formerly known as Pro-Liquitech, Flavorman develops products for every category in the beverage industry. The lab work, formulation, R & D, blending, shelf life testing, FDA review and quality control is all done within its facility. All samples are shipped directly from the lab, and the company works closely with clients and colleagues in the industry to manage costs and facilitate packaging and production schedules. Clients retain sole ownership of their formulation, as Flavorman has no equity position in the products that the company develops. This business model allows the company to service clients with the energy and confidentiality those clients require, without conflicting interests.
Founded in 1992 by Dave Dafoe, who had worked at Brown-Forman Corporation, one of the largest American-owned companies in the wine and spirits business, Flavorman’s first customer was Chiquita Brands and its line of fruit juices. In the mid-1990s, the Jones Soda Company had Flavorman develop their 10 original soda flavors. From there the client list grew, and to date, the company has created thousands of products, hundreds of brands, allowing hundreds of companies to achieve success in the beverage markets.
Flavorman secured two small SBA 7(a) loans in the 1990s to expand its business, and both loans have been paid in full. In 2007, the company obtained an SBA 504 loan to move from an east end industrial park to 809 South 8th Street near downtown Louisville in a HUBZone. Since that time, the company has seen a revitalization of the area, with other businesses moving to or expanding their businesses in this HUBZone area. Also, in 2010, Flavorman received an SBA ARRA loan from a local credit union.
Recently, Flavorman management acquired a former automobile garage next to its building. Named the Distilled Spirits Epicenter, this sister company will offer support to artisan distilleries, which have expanded from 143 facilities in 2006 to over 700 facilities across the country today. Grease Monkey Distillery, Moonshine University and Challenge Bottling all operate under The Epicenter, offering state-of-the-art distilled spirits equipment, expert-led classes and onsite bottling services.
“For the last 20 years we have developed every type of beverage in every beverage category for our clients to sell in the US and international markets”, says Dafoe. “It seemed intuitive to extend this knowledge and experience to the burgeoning craft distilling movement percolating in our backyard. We have the skills to put entrepreneurs into this beverage segment with our product and process development expertise while assisting large established companies through work with our pilot facilities. We are perfectly positioned to become the Epicenter for distilled spirits with centralized resources and knowledge for this beverage segment.”
During his first visit to the state of Kentucky, Cassius Butts, SBA Region IV Administrator from Atlanta, paid a visit to Flavorman. Cassius Butts said, “Flavorman is a great example of an innovative, small U.S. manufacturer that competes world-wide and creates new jobs.”
Leaders at Flavorman attribute their success to their team. The technical staff consists of flavor development specialists, flavor application specialists, flavor technicians, product development specialists, operations managers, lab technicians, and other experts, all of whom help bring innovative new beverages to market. The management team offers years of beverage industry, business, legal, international and entrepreneurial experience.
The Flavorman team also enjoys giving back to the community in which they work. Some of the organizations its employees support include Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana, StageOne Family Theatre, Junior League of Louisville, Kentucky Rescue Association, Louisville Hunger Walk, Louisville MS Center, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Miami University Alumni Association and Jefferson County Public Schools. Also, Flavorman partnered with the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) to build an urban rain garden on its property to help with stormwater runoff. Rain gardens help capture water runoff, which can contain oil-based products, chemicals and toxic substances, before it reaches the drainage system. This rain garden improves water quality and offers an attractive setting in front of the Flavorman buildings.