Jared Rudy knew how to make really good beer. But he didn’t know how to make a profit doing it.
So Rudy, his wife, Emily Rudy, and their friends, Adam and Melissa Rosdahl, sought assistance from the Kansas Small Business Development Center’s office at Washburn University.
The professionals at that center helped them launch Norsemen Brewing Company, which they’ve operated since 2016 at 830 N. Kansas Ave. in North Topeka’s Historic NOTO District.
“Throughout the process, the SBDC worked to set us up with the appropriate people through each stage of the project and helped us avoid common pitfalls,” Jared Rudy said recently. “I firmly believe that the SBDC increased our chances of being successful.”
Norsemen Brewing was among eight businesses the SBDC honored as “Emerging Businesses of the Year” on March 12 during its annual awards ceremony in Topeka, where it also recognized eight “Existing Businesses of the Year.”
The Kansas SBDC is a statewide advising, consulting and training service for small businesses. It is financed by federal, state and local partners.
The businesses honored March 12 had been chosen by directors and advisers in the eight regional offices the SBDC operates in Kansas, one of which is based at Washburn.
“Collectively, the Kansas SBDC team believes these 16 small businesses are excellent examples of small businesses that have learned to adapt and succeed in changing times,” said Greg Panichello, the Kansas SBDC director.
Norsemen Brewing was the only Topeka business recognized.
The inscription on a plaque the SBDC gave Norsemen Brewing’s owners tells of how Jared Rudy convinced his wife and the Rosdahls to join him in attending a small business start-up seminar the SBDC offered at Washburn.
The two couples then began working with SBDC advisers, who helped them find financing and fine-tune their business plan for creating a destination-based microbrewery and taproom.
The couples developed sales projections and secured a loan from the federal Small Business Administration.
The SBDC also helped them find a building.
The couples had looked through newspaper and online ads, and couldn’t find any structures they considered suitable, Jared Rudy said. But SBDC’s Karl Klein knew of some buildings available for purchase that weren’t necessarily being heavily advertised, and put the Norsemen Brewing partners in touch with the owner of the building they ended up buying, he said.
Norsemen Brewing held its grand opening in October 2016, and has met or exceeded all the sales projections it set, according to the plaque its owners received from the SBDC.
“We are happy to raise a glass to your success,” the inscription on that plaque said. “Cheers to you, Norsemen Brewing Company of Topeka, Kansas.”