ABOUT THE PROJECT
When David and Heidi Files started Energy City Brewing in 2017, it consisted of a 1-barrel brewery where brew master David experimented with different recipes, and the couple sold the beer one Saturday per month out of their basement location in Batavia.
David is no novice at brewing. His career working full time as a chemical engineer at an industrial ethanol plant, coupled with years of honing his brewing skills at home, led to Energy City beer being repeatedly recognized as one of the top craft beers in the area. It was not long before the community learned of his expertise, and their monthly Saturday beer sales drew long lines that stretched down the block.
While David focused on brewing beer and Heidi juggled managing the business operations, they both also worked their day jobs. As their reputation grew, they were quickly stretched to capacity. They had visions of opening a full-size brewery and possibly a tap room.
Working with Graydon Management, David and Heidi were able to craft a strategy and lay a foundation for exponential growth. “We started working more like a professional business and less like a hobby. We were able to see opportunities for growth that we may not have recognized without this program.”
Once the plan was in place, David and Heidi worked with Graydon Management to identify a larger space and move into their current location at 917 First St., Batavia, IL 60510. They grew their local distribution to 150 stores regionally. When COVID came, they paused distribution, and began selling out of their facility, while shipping out of state through distribution. They are now brewing about 100 barrels of beer every month, and have distribution in 19 states, as well as two distributors that ship their beer internationally.
David and Heidi are now both working full time at Energy City Brewing. About their experience with Graydon, Heidi said, “Be prepared to be challenged. Be prepared for real growth. Be prepared for real hard work. It will pay off in so many ways. It will expand your vision – you don’t really know what you’re capable of doing.”
Just recently, Energy City opened the tap room at their location in Batavia. But, don’t expect them to be done growing. As David states, “There’s never a perfect recipe. There’s always a chance to brew it better. The beer I’m most excited about is the one we haven’t made yet.”