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Best Companies to Work for in Colorado 2011: Odell Brewing Co.

A company built on beer -- and people


3) Odell Brewing Co.

Sure, Odell Brewing Co. is about 
the beer - delicious, distinctive,
hand-crafted beer.

But Odell's wasn't built on beer alone.

"It's all about the beer - and all about the people," says Corkie Odell, the company's HR director, who also answers to the title of "Culture Maven." "We're a very close-knit group who really respect each other and have a really good time together."

The Odells - Corkie; her brother Doug, who founded the company; and Doug's wife, Wynne, the company's CEO, started Odell's in 1989 in a converted 1915 grain elevator on the outskirts of downtown Fort Collins, using recipes Doug had perfected in his kitchen. Today, the company has 66 employees working out of a 45,000-square-foot facility to produce 45,000 barrels of Odell's, bringing the company revenues to more than $12 million last year.
A key ingredient in the Odell recipe for success: hiring people who really want to be there.

"If it's somebody who has researched our company and has a passion for our passion - beer - and cares about philanthropy and understands our culture, they tend to be the people who excel here," Corkie says.

Another essential part of the Odell recipe: philanthropy, which includes its Charity of the Month, gift-in-kind donations and a small grants program. Last year, the company took all employees to an area that had suffered flooding, where everyone pitched in over two days to do streambed restoration and erosion control. Similar adventures in giving back are going to become an annual event, Corkie says.

"We wanted people to have a good time doing something for someone else," she says.

The company has come a long way since the days when Doug made sales calls out of his old mustard-colored Datsun pickup, Corkie cleaned out the tanks and Wynne paid the bills. But they still remember where they came from.

"I think about how amazing it is to have built this from nothing and have it be such a delightful place to be," Corkie says. "We truly we care about our beer, and we care about each other. It's as simple as that."

2010 rank: New to the list this year

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Lisa Ryckman

Lisa Ryckman is ColoradoBiz's Digital Editor. Contact her at lryckman@cobizmag.com.

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