The easiest markets for startups to enter are those that most people think don’t even exist.
In 2009, Jason Wilson created Back Forty Beer Company in his hometown of Gadsden, Alabama. At that point in time, Wilson says the Deep South was seen as a “wasteland” for craft beer and few people believed that beer drinkers could be convinced to give up Bud Light and Coors Light in favor of “artisan, hand crafted” brews. While these attitudes would discourage some brewers, Wilson saw them as “an opportunity, not a barrier to entry.”
Fast forward six years and Wilson’s startup brewery is a huge hit. Back Forty has won numerous awards and it is the biggest producing brewery in Alabama. The company has been spotlighted by Food Network legend Alton Brown and has been featured in publications such as Southern Living, Conde Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, Garden & Gun, and Travel Pulse.
Perhaps best of all, Wilson was recently received a Young Entrepreneur of the Year award from his alma mater, Auburn University.
Carefully making a bold move seems like a contradiction, but that is exactly what Wilson did. Back Forty pioneered a market that experts thought did not exist. This was not done recklessly, however. Wilson toured over 150 breweries to learn what works and what doesn’t work before he started Back Forty. His thorough analysis paid off. Back Forty has enjoyed five years in a row of triple-digit sales growth.