Manufacturers Make it Big – And Small
Made in Colorado 2018: From guitar strings to satellite hardware
Manufacturing is cool again.
It's not dirty or dangerous – it's clean and cutting edge.
It's not dull or dead-end, either. The skill set of the workforce boggles the mind.
Manufacturers employ everyone from farmers to physicists, and the tradespeople who shape raw materials into all manner of finished products are in notably high demand, especially in Colorado.
There's a good reason for that: Making things here makes good economic sense, and a large and diverse cadre of companies in the state is riding a wave of demand for all things local. As domestic manufacturing continues its steady comeback in 2018, there are more breweries, more food producers and more makers of outdoor gear in Colorado than ever, and big investments in factories and industrial facilities are much more commonplace than they were a decade ago.
But this renaissance is also about being smarter with resources, and many local makers are leveraging automation and efficient workflows to compete with companies manufacturing in lower-cost countries. Those investments are paying off in a big way.
ColoradoBiz's 2018 edition of "Made in Colorado" takes a look at 10 of the state's manufacturers making products ranging from guitar strings to satellite hardware to hard apple cider. Representing 10 different sectors of manufacturing in the state, the companies were chosen for their innovation, their uniqueness and their compelling backstories.
Check out ColoradoBiz magazine's annual Made in Colorado award winners and finalists:
MOST ETHICAL MANUFACTURER
Named after the owner's father, whose big heart belied his small stature, this company incorporates social and environmental considerations into every action and makes the wellbeing of the community its top priority in all business decisions. Through its "scoop for scoop" program, our winner donates a scoop of rice, beans or other essentials to a needy community across the world for every scoop of ice cream purchased in its shops. From philanthropy to community-building events to buying and partnering local whenever possible, this company has made being good stewards of its shops. From philanthropy to community-building events to buying and partnering local whenever possible, this company has made being good stewards of its employees, community and the planet its mission
MOST INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR
Aspiring to be the world leader of innovative materials solutions, from its start in a boot-strapped garage lab to receiving its first large investment, this company's founders and senior scientists believe in enabling materials solutions that will change the world by making many other technologies safer, cheaper and more efficient.
FOOD + BEVERAGE BRAND OF THE YEAR
Started as a hobby that spiraled out of control into an obsession and eventually into a full-time business, The Real Dill gave out a batch at one of the founders' weddings, and guest feedback told them they were onto something. So, in 2012, they quit their day jobs to pursue their passion and they never looked back. They are proudly a zero food-waste company and they also raise about $10,000 a year for local nonprofits.
EMERGING MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR
Born from the need to grab that romance, passion and sense of adventure and take it into the middle of nowhere, the company founder and his two brothers meticulously design, shape and assemble each custom product by hand to bring their customers the quality and heritage of American craftsmanship.
TOP DESIGNED GOODS OF 2018
Colorado has historically been a hub for outdoor brands – an obvious choice given the state's natural beauty and active lifestyle. The winner of this category began its venture in 1983 and has spent years testing and perfecting its design and construction methods. Those years of experience along with a close working relationship with the world's leading raw materials manufacturers and engineers has allowed Never Summer to produce a carefully handcrafted product in its Denver factory.