St. Louis, MOINDUSTRY: FOOD SERVICES
BUSINESS: O'FALLON BREWERY
YEAR FOUNDED: 2000
PROGRAM: 2016 Emerging Leaders St. Louis
“We have to be nimble, be smarter, and appeal to local businesses and local consumers. We can really connect with them on a level that the big brewers can’t.”BUSINESS OVERVIEW
In 2011, former Anheuser-Busch employee Jim Gorczyca purchased the Missouri brewery from its original owners, Tony and Fran Caradonna. Four years later, Jim moved the brewery from its namesake town of O’Fallon, MO, to the St Louis suburb of Maryland Heights. Relocating the brewery did two things: it opened up the St Louis market and increased the physical size of the brewery from 6,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet. This dramatic change in scale gave O’Fallon the space it needed to grow: O’Fallon today has a restaurant in addition to its taproom and brewery, with room to bottle and package its beer for sale in 14 states. From the dozen people employed at the brewery when Jim started, 25 people work at the brewery and as many as 50 now work at the restaurant.
BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS IN THE COMMUNITY
Alongside O’Fallon’s relocation, Jim has worked hard to build partnerships in St Louis. Focusing on local connections is something Jim believes microbreweries can do much better than their larger counterparts: “Big breweries are limited because they don’t really have a certain place that they call home.”
In the past few years, O’Fallon created several beers with chocolate from Bissinger’s, a St Louis-based chocolatier. They also created a line of alcoholic sodas with Fitz’s, a local gourmet soda maker. Jim notes that these partnerships “have been great for both businesses” while at the same time “people who drink the beer relate right away.” For St Louis sports fans, O’Fallon offers a beer honoring St Louis Blues legend Keith Tkachuk and this year has unveiled a beer promoting the Cardinals’ Major League Baseball season. These products connect with customers who recognize their favorite hometown businesses or teams.
The success of these products and the brewery as a whole means O’Fallon can expand even more, as Jim brought on three new salespeople in the opening months of 2017, alone.
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