Something’s in the air at Birdboy Brewing
Jul28

Something’s in the air at Birdboy Brewing

There’s something in the air in Fort Wayne – something new and exciting in the local beer scene. Birdboy Brewing is coming and hopes Fort Wayne is ready for a taste of something new. The local craft brewery is starting up production of kegged craft beer for distribution to select bars and restaurants in the Fort Wayne market. “It’s a small brewery,” said founder Ben Thompson. “It’s going to be Fort Wayne’s only production brewery right now.” In naming his brewery, Thompson was inspired by Fort Wayne’s own “birdboy,” pilot Art Smith, who Fort Wayne’s Smith Field Airport is also named for. Thompson himself has been a pilot since the age of 17 and went on to study aviation maintenance in college, which is when he started experimenting with homebrewing. With assistance from the Fort Wayne Arts Incubator Co-Starters program at ArtLink Fort Wayne, Thompson was able to pivot and refine an already existing business plan he originally had for a brew pub and decided to go the distribution route. Working independently with only a contractor, Thompson is balancing working a full-time job while pursuing his dream. “It definitely doesn’t leave time for much else, but it’s manageable,” said Thompson. The first brews on tap are going to be a Belgian pale ale followed by an American wheat. “The Belgian pale ale is not real hoppy, but it has a nice kind of spicy yeast character,” said Thompson. “The American wheat is pretty hoppy with some soft wheat flavors.” With construction just wrapping up and the first batch of craft beer completed, Thompson is now meeting with bar and restaurant owners and managers to get his special brew on tap. “It’s going to be such a small brewery,” said Thompson. “I’m going to have a hard time keeping up with just Fort Wayne.” That’s good to hear, and great for the community to see new things, which add to the culture of Fort Wayne while also reminding us a little bit about Fort Wayne’s rich history. Look for Birdboy Brewing beers at a local pub near you. For more information and to get updates on when and where to find Birdboy Brewing products, please visit them online at birdboybrewing.com and on social media on Facebook and...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Fort Wayne Inventors Club
Dec15

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Fort Wayne Inventors Club

This is the next part of a series of pieces on entrepreneurship and innovation in Northeast Indiana. Join us as we explore the resources available to you as a resident of this area and some of the new businesses that are shaking things up in the area. Let’s Startup Fort Wayne! (-Tim) **** Do you ever look at something and think “Hey, there’s got to be a better way to do this”? You’re not alone! There are many people in Northeast Indiana that are real life inventors or share genuine interest in innovation. Once a month at the Center for Creative Collaboration at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne, innovators from a variety of different backgrounds get together to talk about ideas and best practices for turning these ideas into something more. Some of these people have developed products and built new ventures for Northeast Indiana while others have developed ideas they have sold to interested businesses who can bring the product to market. After the December meeting, I chatted with co-founder Dave Gross, President and CEO of Collision Control Communications about what makes this meeting so beneficial for its attendees. Gross noted the unique makeup of the group – people from different backgrounds from research and development to sales and marketing – helps bring together different thought processes and approaches to ideas. Plus, there’s networking opportunities – usually there’s somebody there who knows somebody or knows of some resource from outside the group that may be helpful to you and your idea. For example, if you have an idea, should you patent it? Talk to Dave or any of the attendees, and they’ll share a variety of thoughts from “yes, start the patent application process now” to “no, bring your product to market first.” That’s the best part about meetings like this – colliding with people who have been there and done that. It’s a good kind of collision and you can feel the energy there. A lot of the interaction is organic – at the end of the meeting, most of the attendees chatted naturally with one another about their projects, ideas, or questions. New attendees to the group seemed to incorporate themselves nicely into the no pressure mix. One of the new attendees was Daniel Miller, who shared his idea for a “virtually inexhaustible carbon-free green fuel.” Miller, a younger innovator, was drawn to the meeting so he could network with people who have been through the development process before for their products. Through this project, Miller hopes to “[set] the anchor for a new industry cluster in the region.” If you’d like to attend a meeting – just go...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Syndeo Studios
Nov17

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Syndeo Studios

Northeast Indiana is not exactly known as an animation hot spot. So, why did two young men fresh out of college decide to build their animation and design venture here? Chris Viel and Curtis Wood might have chosen to go the traditional path after college, but instead they decided to start-up something unique to Northeast Indiana. Founded in late 2011, the two of them have been growing together as entrepreneurs with their venture, Syndeo Studios, out of Huntington, Indiana. As they both headed into the Huntington University Digital Media Arts program, partnering on an entrepreneurial venture wasn’t exactly on the two classmates’ minds at first. “At first when I went into college, I was like ‘oh, I want to work for Pixar or whatever’ but then the professors kind of melded my mind,” said Viel. “Now I like the idea of kind of like an independent thing where you get to do your own thing…you’re not just doing the same thing over and over and over, and you have this creative freedom.” Syndeo is working to promote the medium of animation to clients in the region – and most of their clients are local. Viel and Wood create pieces in stop motion animation, 2D/3D motion graphics, compositions, and logo animations – unique media that make people stop and look. Take a look at their reel below. “That’s kind of our target…We do want to target this area and try and build up, and say to this area that this medium is actually important, and to make this area look better,” said Viel. During the initial startup phase, after talking with one of their professors at Huntington University, he took them in the direction of the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center’s Student Venture Lab, an incubator for student entrepreneurship at the high school, college, and post-graduate levels. From there they have been slowly building up their name and recognition from other people. From partnering with Kelly Lynch of Lynchpin Creative on some projects to doing projects for the alma mater, Viel and Wood are continuing to grow and get their name out there. They even won a Gold Addy® Award for their piece “Celebrate Norm” in 2014. With both coming from an artistic background, picking up the business side of things was not without its challenges. “I’m an artist. I didn’t go to school to learn business,” said Wood, “You know, I wish I would have minored in it at least.” Learning how to deal with clients and keep them happy has also been an area where Viel and Wood have grown. “That was the hard part, because we’ve obviously never...

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