SBA Success Story: Encore Entrepreneur Enjoying Suds and Success in Dodge CityChristina Long
SBA Success Story
used with permission
What started as a passion to make the perfect home brewed beer, led a CPA with 34 successful years in accounting to start the first brewery in Dodge City in 2017. Larry Cook and his wife Sheri own and manage Dodge City Brewing Company, LLC that features a variety of craft beers and brick-oven pizza.
Its a state-of-the-art brewery, financed with an SBA 504 loan, with capacity to brew 600 barrels (about 18,600 gallons) of craft beer a year. The brewery is located one block off Wyatt Earp Avenue which is the main thoroughfare through Dodge City.
Larry Cook, a CPA and partner in a local accounting firm, fell in love with making his own craft beer as a home brewer in the early 2000s. Cook had lived and worked in Wichita where he became friends with Goebel Liquors owner Rob Miller when their kids played on the same baseball team. Miller introduced him to craft beer, and Cook started making and perfecting his own batches as a home brewer for the next 14 years.
Cook, who has lived in Dodge City since 1999, was encouraged by his family and friends to pursue his dream of starting a brewery as he was contemplating retirement from his accounting career. As Cook began to put his brewery business plans on paper, he reached out and received positive feedback and ideas from several of his beer friends in Wichita, including Ian Crane, the co-founder and head brewer of Central Standard Brewing.
At the time, there was no brewery in the large swath of land between Wichita and Pueblo (CO) and Hays and Amarillo (TX). Southwest Kansas was wide open, said Cook. As Dodge City redeveloped its Boot Hill district and built a new casino, tourism has drawn more visitors and grown the market to support unique establishments – like a brewery.