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Hop City Craft Beer & Wine

Kraig Torres always had a love of beer. After departing the Coast Guard and moving with his wife to Atlanta, he eventually opened up his dream business, a store offering craft beers from all over the world. Hop City Craft Beer & Wine opened in 2009 when the economy was still struggling to recover from a recession. He had some capital from the sale of a previous auto repair business but still needed a bank loan.

What challenge did you have? “We thought of Atlanta as a city of opportunity and it has been,” he says. “It was a terrible economy to open a business but I saw an opportunity to offer something that was not being offered in Atlanta,” Torres says. “I had some capital from the sale of the auto repair shop but also needed a bank loan. That proved to be very difficult. They kept telling me ‘nobody else is doing what you want to do.’ I ended up going to 32 different banks before finally getting a loan from a private bank that was opening a branch in Atlanta.”

What was the SBA solution? Torres got that loan through Georgia Primary Bank with the help of the SBA 7(a) loan program, which has now been used for all of his locations.

What benefit did this have for the business? The SBA loan program, along with changes in laws and regulations governing the production, sale and consumption of craft beer, has enabled Torres to expand over the years. He opened up a second location in Birmingham, Ala., followed by three more locations in the Atlanta area over the past six years. “We’ve gotten eight SBA loans over the years,” Torres says. “Our business has been growing exponentially…I cannot be more grateful. Without SBA there would not be a Hop City.”