MADE Winners – Food And Beverage Category

By Staff Reports, posted Feb 24, 2017


Year founded: 2016 | Number of employees: 40

Top official: Amy Wright, president

Company description: Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, located on New Centre Drive, employs workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Human rights movement disguised as a coffee shop.”

Company growth: “Our workforce has doubled, and our customer base has expanded to reach a worldwide audience. What began in a 500-square-foot space (in its original location on Wrightsville Avenue) has now multiplied into 5,000 square feet.”

How has your product helped impact the region’s economic development? “Featured in national media outlets including Southern Living, People, Good Morning America, The Rachael Ray Show and The Harry Show, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee has become a destination. Every week, hundreds of visitors pour through our doors to experience more than a cup of coffee.”

How did you originally come up with the concept for your product? “The inspiration behind Bitty & Beau’s Coffee comes from our two youngest children, Bitty and Beau, who both have Down syndrome. Creating an enterprise where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are valued came from a very organic place.”

What are your future goals for the product? “There are many exciting developments in the works for the future expansion of Bitty & Beau’s Coffee. Rachael Ray said she ‘wants to see a Bitty & Beau’s Coffee on every corner from coast to coast.’ We plan to make that happen!”


Year founded: 2015 | Number of employees: 4

Top official: Jules DeBord, owner

Company description: Lunchbox Pickles makes and sells a variety of gourmet pickles and condiments.

Company growth: The operation grew “from a small apartment kitchen to a full-sized kitchen producing over 25,000 jars of pickles last year – from one farmers market to 15 per week this upcoming season.”

How has your product helped impact the region’s economic development? “We source local produce from farmers in the area, employing local individuals, and selling 99 percent of our product in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and Onslow counties.”

How did you originally come up with the concept for your product? “It’s a pickle, we can’t take it too seriously – having fun and being creative with the recipes, and always pushing concepts and using international influences that can make a pickle different and more flavorful.”

What are your future goals for the product? “Getting the most out of the amazing produce our area has to offer, creating more flavors, more markets and increasing our regional and national distribution.”


Year founded: 2012 | Number of employees: 11

Top official: Michelle and John Savard, founders and co-owners

Company description: The facility on South Kerr Avenue houses a brewery, a taproom and a homebrew supply store.

Target market: “Craft beer lovers”

Company growth: The company grew from a small homebrew shop to a 11,800-square-foot space in the past five years. “We grew out of the homebrew shop in under a year. Once we moved to our bigger location and added the brewery, we’ve grown exponentially more – from a three-barrel brewing system, adding seven-barrel tanks, and most recently adding a 25-barrel system.”

How has your product helped impact the region’s economic development? “Locally, the beer community has multiplied. We love to see all these other new breweries opening up. Some of their owners were our first loyal customers in our original homebrew shop.”

What are your future goals for the product? “We will continue to grow and produce quality, craft beer here in Wilmington and surrounding areas. We are currently getting ready to launch our canning program. Our plan is continued growth at our brewery and through distribution, along with new and exciting styles of beer including our West Coast-style IPAs and future barrel aged sours.”

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