Illinois State University's College of Business is recognizing a craft brewery co-owner who has grown his enterprise into an international business as its Entrepreneur of the Year.
ISU’s Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Kingston Wealth Management Group will present Destihl Brewery founder and CEO Matt Potts its Entrepreneur of the Year at a dinner Thursday at the DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center in Bloomington.
Corey Ferengul, chairman of the investment firm Hyde Park Angels, will be named Alum Entrepreneur of the Year.
Destihl has grown since its founding in 2007 from one brewpub in Normal to two restaurants, beer hall and 47,000-square-foot production facility.
“It’s just a really nice recognition of all the years of hard work and risk and investment to start up, operate and grow Destihl and what it’s become as a company and as a local, regional, national and even now, international brand,” Potts said.
Potts said Destihl employs 285 workers and distributes beer to 30 states, plus the United Kingdom, Sweden and South Korea.
Destihl has also grown to become the largest producer of sour beer in the United States.
“We have filled a niche and we have filled it with a lot of volume,” Potts said. “Destihl makes a lot of other beer styles. It just happens the sour beers are a niche nationally, but you don’t have to like sour beers to love and support Destihl.”
Ferengul’s company Hyde Park Angels is comprised of 100 investors that seeks to invest in Midwest companies.
“We think there’s so much investment on both coasts,” Ferengul. “You’ve got your Bay Area, Silicon Valley and you’ve got New York and Boston that have so much attention from big funds, but there’s a lot of young talent in the Midwest.
“Our goal is to try and foster those companies.”
Ferengul graduated from ISU in 1993 and credits his time there with preparing him for life in the business world.
“Illinois State helped in broadening my understanding of what the opportunities were and what was the potential, what could you try and do," Ferengul said.
Ferengul said he has continued to give back to the university by helping mentor students who have looked to start their own businesses.
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