FOX 47 - Road Trippin'
NEW GLARUS-FOX 47 took a road trip to New Glarus for a tour of what's become the main tourist attraction in the Swiss village. Just more than 2,100 people live in New Glarus, but this year, 200,000 people are expected to tour what's no longer a quaint little brewery, but instead, a well-known and respected businessWisconsin.
Founder and President, Deb Carey and her husband, Dan are celebrating their 20th year in business with two decades of very hard work and a lot of success to show for it.
There were only two ways this was going to go, either really big, or a freakish flop, Carey said.
"Failure is not an option, but God forbid I would fail on somebody else's hunch.
Most would say ranked 17th in the country for craft brewers and 26th among all breweries is anything but failure. Construction is still underway on the new hilltop brewery, with another 11 million dollar expansion on the way, all just a short distance from their old building downtown.
"Over the 20 years that we've been here, we keep expanding and reinvesting and improving what we're doing until we're finally able to have this beautiful building that's so energy efficient," said Carey.
The brewery's efficiency with production and distribution help allow for the hiring of 70 plus people from the surrounding area. The dedicated crew pumped out 126,000 barrels last year, up more than 10 percent from 2011.
Deb said she's down to about 50 hours a week from 100 plus, but beer is always in progress on some level to meet the ever-growing demand.
The signature copper kettles they rescued from Germany are always churning, then the beer mixture moves on to the next stage.
This is our fermentation center and what happens in here is after the wert leaves the bruha we take all of those brews from the day and put it into one of those big tanks, said Carey.
Deb said they take great care to use all natural ingredients to craft unique beers like the well-known Spotted Cow. Deb, who's also an artist designed the cow label so many in Wisconsin recognize.
It's this extreme care with each brew that keeps loyal New Glarus drinkers very loyal and growing in number, also growing, the number of awards.
"You know, just showing up everyday and trying to give it your best shot, which I would say the vast majority of Americans do to suddenly win best small business person in Wisconsin, I was shocked, said Carey.
The award landed her an invitation to participate in a meeting with the White House Small Business Council and an unexpected meeting with President Obama. Deb said the meetings are very private and quite contentious.
"People come with all kinds of ideas and we're allowed to speak freely, said Carey. At that particular meeting we were discussing the fiscal cliff and it's impact on the economy and the president was really pushing for compromise and some forward movement from Congress, so it was really exciting and it really was a genuine thrill and I feel very proud to be an American."
Deb also recently a 2013 Women of Achievement award and was named Regional Entrepreneur of the Year from Ernst and Young. You can join in the 20th celebration at the Polka Fest in June.
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