Even though the business had been in his family for nearly 80 years, Phil Tulkoff didn’t expect to have much involvement in Tulkoff Foods before he took control of it seven years ago. After spending more than 20 years in the aerospace and computer consulting sectors, Tulkoff says the family business wasn’t something he had spent a lot of time thinking about. “My only food experience was three meals a day,” he jokes.

Although the taste of beer and its foaming head on a chilled stein is eph­em­eral, providing it is not. In New Ulm, Minn., do­ing so has been a long-running enterprise. Now in its 152nd year of family ownership in New Ulm, August Schell Brewing Co. has weathered changing tastes and styles in the evolving beer market and is prospering in the era of craft beer.

For more than 60 years, family owned LeVecke Corp. has specialized in giving its customers the finest service possible. Even in today’s very different business environment, “We’re not going to let go of that [philosophy],” COO Joe LeVecke says.

Fresca Foods has changed greatly since it was founded in the early 1990s. Back then, it served retail and wholesale foodservice clients by providing packaged pasta, sauces and soups. Today, the company provides manufacturing, marketing and financial investment to second-stage natural and organic food brands.

Twenty-five years ago, not that many people – let alone women – were starting artisan chocolate companies. But Cathy Brand-Beere, president and founder of DeBrand Fine Chocolates, took her background growing up in the confectionery equipment and supplies business and in 1987 meticulously started to build up a company in her hometown of Fort Wayne, Ind., that has caught the attention of such notable celebrities as Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump.

People who drink Bear Republic Brewing Co.’s beers for the first time tend to have a very similar reaction. “We call it the ‘wow’ factor,” President and co-founder Richard Norgrove says. “We take our beers to people and they say, ‘Wow, this is really good.’

The days when Joe the bartender would slosh a little whiskey in a glass with ice and cola and call it a cocktail are long gone. Today’s mixologists are lionized like the latest top chef, and their creations gain the attention formerly reserved for main entrees – which their price tags can resemble.

Since opening its doors in March 1974, Windward and Leeward Brewery Limited has become an important part of St. Lucia. Distributing products domestically, and to markets across the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Windward and Leeward is working to overcome the effects of a recession that has yet to ease in the Caribbean.

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