After more than a century and four generations of family management, Roy Farms Inc. has enjoyed success by maintaining a passion for the business, forming strong client and supplier relationships, “and sticking to our moral compass,” Owner and President of Hop Production and Sales Mike Roy says. “That’s served us pretty well.”

Moxee, Wash.-based Roy Farms produces apples, blueberries, cherries, and alpha and aroma hop varieties that are used in beers. Roy’s great-grandfather, Adelard Roy, started the farm in 1907 in Yakima Valley, Wash. 

“He started out mostly with cattle and hops,” Mike Roy says. Over time, the company moved away from cattle and diversified into apples, cherries and blueberries. However, hop varieties remain the company’s main crop to this day. 

Today, Roy Farms has four hop-picking and processing facilities spread out over its land holdings. “We’ll run a 30-day harvest, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he says, noting that a large percentage of its products are sold to craft brewers, including Lagunitas Brewing Co., Bear Republic Brewing Co., Victory Brewing Co. and MillerCoors LLC. 

When a consumer orders a favorite coffee drink at their local café, chances are that drink is being prepared with a Grindmaster-Cecilware product. 

The company is headquartered in Louisville, Ky., and is comprised of four different companies: Grindmaster Corp., Cecilware Corp., Crathco and American Metal Ware. Grindmaster-Cecilware was formed in 2009 through the merger of the two companies and continues to be the industry leader in beverage dispensing equipment, but also operates a small division of foodservice equipment, CEO Nestor Ibrahim says. “We have a very long history and strong brand,” he adds. “We are four very strong, established brands that have created synergy and critical mass in the marketplace.”

Cecilware was founded in 1911 and manufactured foodservice equipment in Long Island, N.Y., and Grindmaster began in 1933 after Richard Shuman patented his unique style of coffee grinders. Through the years, both companies expanded operations through product development, diversification and acquisition. Grindmaster acquired Crathco, a manufacturer of cold beverage dispensers, in 1988, and then American Metal Ware, a manufacturer of coffee and tea brewers and urns, in 1995. “We will continue to lead with innovation and manufacture at the cost point that satisfies the needs of our customers,” Ibrahim says.

Founded in 1988 by brothers Frank Gilardi and Phil Gilardi, Freshway Foods is a fresh fruit and vegetable processor, repacker and distributor that draws its strength from its finely tuned logistics operation.

The company delivers fresh-cut produce to retailers, foodservice operators and distributors in the eastern half of the United States. Its customers include national and regional restaurant chains and grocery stores, as well as convenience stores.

”We believe our strength is our logistics coverage and reach,” CEO Frank Gilardi says. “We can provide service to our customers with deliveries three to five times per week all over the Eastern United States, which is our major competitive advantage.”

Freshway Foods processes carrots, cabbages, onions, salad blends, fresh-cut fruit, celery, peppers, vegetable blends and other produce products. The company operates out of its 100,000-square-foot processing and distribution center in Sidney, Ohio. The facility was built in 2000 and expanded six years later by an additional 40,000 square feet. 

Forget about gimmicks. Forget about fads. Flippers Pizzeria isn’t interested in being the next big thing or making a quick buck out of flash-and-fizzle hype. “For inspiration, we look back to how pizza was done in the very beginning,” says Scott Kousaie, founding partner of the 15-restaurant chain based in Orlando, Fla.

That means making hand-crafted pizzas with fresh packed tomatoes, fresh herbs, chopped garlic cloves, freshly made hand-rolled dough, all cooked in authentic, 600 F brick ovens. Add the best of America, such as whole milk mozzarella cheese from Wisconsin and sausage from Chicago – and you’ve got a recipe that will outlast the latest thing.

And Flippers wants no part in the argument over which regional style is best. Chicago pies as thick as manhole covers, foldable New York slices and unusual California combinations all have their place in the pizza world, but Flippers aims for broad appeal with influences from all three. 

“Our goal is to build a brand with a passion for great food, integrity and excellence,” Kousaie says.

Don’t count the Dark Horse out. The little brewery that could in historic Marshall, Mich., is coming up from behind some of the biggest craft brewers in the business with its idiosyncratic beers, such as blueberry stout, raspberry ale and coffee doppelbock.

Founded by Aaron and Kristine Morse in 2000, Dark Horse Brewing Co. has been expanding rapidly but in a controlled fashion, like the head on a finely poured stout. The brewery values distinctive personalities in its employees and the beers it brews, as a look at the company’s innovative new website indicates.

Dark Horse Brewing Co. relies on the dedication of its customers to keep it prospering in Marshall, Mich., in the state’s southern midsection between Battle Creek – home of Kellogg’s Cereal and Tony the Tiger – and Detroit. 

“The people that come here basically named themselves, and we picked up on it,” Director of Taproom Operations Travis Glenn says. “They call themselves the ‘Dark Horse Nation.’” In his 25 years in the restaurant industry, “I’ve never seen anything that rivals it.”


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