Going wide

Posted on May 14, 2021 :: Editors Note
Posted by , Insight on Manufacturing Staff Writer

One of Wisconsin’s many points of pride is its great heritage of beverage making. From craft breweries to distilleries to cideries and hard seltzer makers, we’ve got them all. Many beverage manufacturers aspire to take their products beyond the region and get them into the hands of people around the state and nation. Doing so takes more effort and planning than many would imagine and requires figuring out logistics like product flow, packaging, nutrition labeling and distribution.  

Luckily for beverage makers — and thirsty consumers — many resources are available to help, including the Food Finance Institute and its Food and Beverage Wisconsin Accelerator. Since its inception in 2015, it’s helped 40 companies, 39 of which are still in business and generating $35 million in annual sales. Turn to page 8 to read MaryBeth Matzek’s cover story to learn what it takes to go to the next level and stories of success from 3 Sheeps Brewing Co., Ledgerock Distillery, and SNFood & Beverage and its Carbliss hard seltzer.

I learned so much researching and writing for this issue — one more reason to love my job. Electric vehicle charging station infrastructure is another area that we need to take a wider view on. As someone who would like to switch to driving an EV someday but has not yet, I hadn’t given a great deal of thought to what’s needed to help EV drivers — or prospective EV drivers — feel comfortable that they’ll have enough charge to reach their destination. A big part of the equation is having a sufficient number of public EV charging stations. Two area businesses, Faith Technologies subsidiary EnTech Solutions and Bergstrom Automotive, are taking the concept one step further. EnTech recently designed and installed a clean-energy EV charging system at Bergstrom’s Neenah location. Whereas EVs transfer the emissions from the tailpipe to the smokestack, using clean energy like solar mitigates the negatives of the tradeoff. Turn to page 13 to learn about EnTech and Bergstrom’s inspiring efforts.

Another group that aims to inspire is Women in Manufacturing. A group of female manufacturing leaders formed the Northern Wisconsin Committee as part of the national trade association. Women make up only around 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce. Through its programming and resources, WiM empowers women in manufacturing at every level, from student to shop floor to leadership. Turn to page 17 to learn about personal experiences that led leaders from Oshkosh Corp., CLA and Industrial Nameplate to form the group.

I’m relieved and delighted to count myself among those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with deep gratitude to everyone involved at every level of the effort to roll out shots in record time, including many key manufacturing partners. I’m feeling optimistic for the future and am looking forward to Insight’s upcoming in-person events, including the Women of Influence in the New North Region Awards taking place Aug. 3 and the Manufacturing First Expo & Conference happening Oct. 27, both in Green Bay. Click on the Events tab at insightonbusiness.com for all our latest events news. I hope to see many of you soon!