2023 Kentucky Small Business Week Winners

Success Story

David Dafoe, Founder/CEO of Flavorman and Moonshine University, is the 2023 SBA Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year. Flavorman is located at 809 South 8th Street in Louisville. He previously won this prestigious award in 2016.

Dave began his career as a Chemical Technician and Beverage Alcohol Applications Specialist in Cincinnati, Ohio. He later joined spirits giant Brown-Forman in Louisville and quickly earned a reputation for developing new, unique alcoholic beverages.

In 1992, Dave started a beverage development consulting company, which evolved into the international custom beverage development company known as Flavorman today. Dave launched the business from his condominium kitchen with a handful of credit cards, his perfect palate, and a unique talent to create new, original beverages.

Over the past 30 years, Flavorman has gone through many expansions. In 2005, the company purchased and rehabbed a building at 809 South 8th Street. Flavorman has used the SBA 7(a) and 504 loan programs, as well as other SBA loans, to finance the company’s expansions throughout the years. This includes its most recent expansion, which triples the company’s footprint and encompasses an entire city block.

Dave stated, “We’ve come a long way. I couldn’t be prouder of the team of experts we have and the work we’ve done. We’ve worked with hundreds of well-known and up-and-coming brands and created over 89,000 original beverage formulations.” Notable clients include Chiquita Brands, Ocean Spray, Kellogg’s, and Jones Soda. Today, Flavorman employs 66 team members, 38 of whom have been hired post-COVID.

Other SBA 2023 Small Business Award Winners for Kentucky

  • Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Public Official: Kathy Stewart O'Nan, Mayor | City of Mayfield, KY
  • Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Volunteer: Sandra Kaye Delk, Volunteer | Mayfield, KY
  • Kentucky Financial Advocate of the Year: Mike Maxwell, Business Lending Specialist | Purchase Area Development District (PADD) | Mayfield, KY 
  • Kentucky Home-Based Business of the Year: Clover Bottom Bed & Breakfast | Readith Lakes and Gregory Lakes, Co-Owners | McKee, KY
  • Kentucky Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year: Georgia’s Sweet Potato Pie Company | Dawn Urrutia and Deyago Urrutia, Co-Owners | Louisville, KY
  • Kentucky Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year: Mobility Plus Crestwood | Tony Odum, Owner | Crestwood, KY
  • Kentucky Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year: Family Fun Ice Cream Parlor | Michelle Mitchell, Owner | Radcliff, KY  40160
  • Kentucky Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Better Blend - Florence | Isaac Hamlin, Founder | Florence, KY
This article does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the SBA of any opinions, products, or services of any private individual or entity.