Milwaukee, Wisconsin has it going on! Each city has it’s own community of ‘growth’, but I think Milwaukee is way underrated. Being from the Midwest, I rarely, if EVER hear of Milwaukee. It’s always Chicago or the Twin Cities. Milwaukee owns what they are and takes it to a new level = Beer. They have embraced their breweries, they have cultivated a level of design that makes everything feel new, and they are one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever seen. When Zach and I first found out that Milwaukee may be our next location, I’ll have to say… I wasn’t that thrilled. Now after being here for over a month, I can’t get enough! When I look at our time remaining, there are limited weekends to decide which brunch spot we should hit up, how to spend our Friday night and work out our sleep schedule to make sure we can hit up something amazing going on during the week!
The best part of Milwaukee — FOOD! I had the pleasure of attending a FaB Wisconsin event on June 21, 2018 at The Wisconsin Club, talk about NEAT! Fab Wisconsin has started a program geared towards food, beverage and equipment; to help with their innovation and success. At this event, 10 companies out of 40+ that applied were selected to be apart of this capstone. Each business had 10 minutes to pitch and 10 minutes of Q&A. With hearing each person speak — you could hear their struggles, their passion and their excitement. I would love to a part of this program if Zach and I decide to stay.
Top 10 things I learned at the FaB Wisconsin Event:
- Be CLEAR on what you’re wanting when conveying your ask to potential investors. There are many in the crowd in which one can pitch to, it is important to know exactly where your dollars would go and how that would benefit YOU and YOUR investor. After hearing the ‘ask’ in a pitch to the judges would reiterate by asking, “what is your 5 to 10 year goal”-Be confident with what you’re seeking and that will run in correlation to your 5-10 year plan.
- eCommerce is tough. Ecommence was brought up quite a bit- and yet, no one had a clear answer on how to go about it. Sitting in the crowd myself and seeking advice for my business, if relatable to others on stage, many said they have a store front online, but sales are hit and miss. SAME – SAME here! Best hopeful advice can come from an eCommerce professional themselves, therefore Tera’s podcast Edible-Alpha, with be featuring an Amazon Broker to talk everything eCommerce. Keep your eyes and ears open for that in 8 weeks or so.
- Every cranberry I’ve ever eaten in my life has had sugar added to it. I actually can’t tell you if I knew this or not, but I do enjoy dried cranberries, and the majority of my brain and my heart thought I was mainly eating a simple dried out cranberry. NOT THE CASE AT ALL. Honestly Cranberry is an Unsweetened dried cranberry company. The product is tart, but it kind of hits your sweet buds, like a sour patch kid. Knowing the difference now, I would honestly prefer the unsweetened!
- A premixed cocktail can taste damn delicious. The country club in me says Old Fashion, but the ease in me says pour a glass of wine. There is a stigma with premixed cocktails, and I’m guilty of it from my premixed long island iced tea excursion in South Padre circa 2008. BUT the boys at Soul Boxer have it all figured out. Convenience. We might all like a ‘night cap’ feel right after work, but the mixing and making sure you have the ingredients stocked etc, can be bothersome. Soul Boxer’s premixed old fashions (Brandy or Bourbon) are a wonderful way to go about that cocktail. They also are clever enough to understand the speed for a cocktail at sport venues and concerts. Other great avenues they’re tapping into are breweries. Not everyone that goes to a brewery enjoys beer… they might be dragged there by the majority — the staff at those locations now have an easy pour. Best part of all: around $20.00!
- A side hustle, can still be within your company. Funky Fresh Spring Rolls & Milwaukee Pretzel both hustle. Funky Fresh Spring Rolls saw an opportunity to sell on the daily at The Shops at Grand Avenue — to provide for his dream in a frozen Funky Fresh Spring Roll line. The constant cash flow of one entity is helping him get his groove on behind the scenes. It may be more work, but even for investors, it proves that there is heart and goals within the owner and company. Milwaukee Pretzel works in a very smart, cost effective way, partnering with catering companies. Catering companies buy in bulk, they are a steady customer, and all they need is an oven. This steady income allows Milwaukee Pretzel work on partnerships with other outlets, such as sporting events and a possible retail line. Find your niche and your dream will coincide!
- You can sterilize your shoes, clothes, and food with UV lightening technology. Clean Beam is a company that took an idea that worked in their current business of spice packaging into a sterilization model for the everyday employee that works within a food/beverage factory. Many ways employees go in and out of the original system, is dangerous, chemical based and expensive. Clean Beam has a solid solution that plans to become a $40 million dollar company within the next 5 years. Hello sales job. Clean Beam has also hired a wonderful advertising firm, Bader-Rutter. I got to meet Colleen and Lora from their team, wonderful ladies.
- Cooking Indian cuisine at home is hard. BUT NOT ANYMORE! I love the smell and taste of Indian food, and yet, I have never attempted to make it at home. The company, Flavor Temptations solves the problem that all of us would have; buying mounds of ingredients that would maybe only be used a few times, because we figure out we suck at cooking indian food! Flavor Temptations perfectly portions out the spices you need to make traditional dishes along with the recipe itself. Sara and Partha are a wonderful couple, a wonderful enough couple that they’re taking Gnarly Pepper to India with them to share with their family and manufacture.
- Coffee can taste extra smooth when coated by a thin layer of coconut oil. A process that is patent-pending, Johnny of Philoçoffia, developed this process by understanding the seal coconut oil has on anything. The result; amazingly delicious SMOOTH coffee. He has three different sizes for his cold brewed coffee and sells beans as well.
- Meat shops are more than meat. Kettle Range Meat Co. & Crescent Meats have found their own niche in the meat market and execute them nicely. Kettle Range has a close network of independent Wisconsin family farms in providing organic meats. The demand for organic meats is on the rise, and Kettle Range would like to reach more of the masses alongside their dedicated Milwaukee market. At their location they have innovated with chefs and listened to their customers and created ‘to go’ platters that include vegetables and potatoes with chicken etc. They also carry snack items and dinner sides such as mac and cheese. Crescent Meats saw their niche in the exotic meat market; elk, bison etc. The owner had preached that he is a butcher, not a marketer. His company has great potential with the branch of grass fed and ‘different’ — many people today are eager to try something new, and the market is growing.
- Gluten Free Beer is good. I haven’t been living under a rock, but for not being one that fights celiac disease, I never thought to investigate — Gluten Free Beer. OMG, beer is made with everything gluten! BUT for those suffering, there are options. ALT Brew creates an extensive line of beers and flavors for gluten free folks. It tastes great whether or not you’re gluten intolerant.
Overall, looking at the message from most of the businesses, one thing is in common — better food and drink for YOU, US, THE WORLD. Not only to get the experience in your home, easy and conveniently, there is a romance behind each company that does make it special. Remember to always shop local.
• Flavor Temptations is sharing Gnarly Pepper with India
• Kettle Range Meats Co. is willing to look into a healthier base option for their salads
• Funky Fresh Spring Rolls uses greek yogurt for their dipping… Gnarly Pepper may team up as a flavor option
• Honestly Cranberry would be a great future partner if Gnarly Pepper ever gets into the pre-made chicken salad game