Flavorman Founder/CEO David Dafoe Named Kentucky’s SBA Small Business Person of the Year

March 23, 2023

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 23, 2022) – David Dafoe, Founder/CEO of Flavorman and Moonshine University, is the 2023 U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year. Flavorman is located at 809 South 8th Street in Louisville, KY.

Dave began his career as a Chemical Technician and Beverage Alcohol Applications Specialist at Fries & Fries (now Givaudan) in Cincinnati, OH. He later joined spirits giant Brown-Forman in Louisville, KY, and quickly earned a reputation for developing new, unique alcoholic beverages, including Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails. Then in 1992, Dave started Pro-Liquitech, a beverage development consulting company, which would evolve into an international custom beverage development company known as Flavorman. Over the past 30 years, Flavorman has worked with entrepreneurs, small businesses, and large corporations to change what the world is drinking thanks to the creation of more than 80,000 original beverage formulations. A few notable clients include Chiquita Brands, Ocean Spray, Kellogg’s, and Jones Soda.  

“We’ve come a long way from where we first started, and I couldn’t be prouder of the team of experts we have in place and the work we’ve done over the years,” said Dave Dafoe, Founder/CEO, Flavorman and Moonshine University. “We have worked with hundreds of well-known and up-and-coming brands to help build new flavors and beverages to offer to consumers. We saw the need for technical innovation in the beverage industry, jumped in, and haven’t looked back, and I’m looking forward to another 30 years of working with clients to create trendsetting flavors and innovative beverages.”

“Growing a small business is challenging. However, our region’s entrepreneurs are providing the roadmap for success. Our winners come from diverse backgrounds and industries, but they have all put in the hard work and proper planning to get to where they are today,” said SBA Southeast Regional Administrator Allen Thomas. “They give back to their communities and create jobs. Congratulations to our Southeast Small Business Persons of the Year.”

After seeing a need for education and training within the distilling and spirits industry, Dave created Moonshine University in 2012. The artisan distillery and education center featuring a state-of-the-art classroom were part of several expansions to Flavorman’s Beverage Campus in downtown Louisville, KY that started in 2005 when the company purchased and rehabbed a building at 809 South 8th Street. Flavorman has used the SBA 7(a) and 504 loan programs and other SBA loans to finance the company’s expansions.

With the recent purchase of a 13K-square-foot building that will more than triple the working space for Flavorman’s world-class lab and flavor teams and the grand opening of its new transformative $8.5M, 27K-square-foot Scott Reed Production Building in the middle part of this year, Flavorman operations now populate an entire city block. Dave started the company more than three decades ago out of a residential condo with nothing but a handful of credit cards, his perfect palate, and a unique and uncanny talent to create new, original beverages. Today, Flavorman employs 66 team members, 38 of which have been hired post-COVID, over the past three years.

Flavorman has experienced plenty of ups and downs over the past three decades, but the company has been at its best when its best was needed. Like in 2004 when Dave was hospitalized for a month after returning from vacation in Africa. Ultimately diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Dave eventually made a miraculous recovery, overcoming a temporary loss of vision, being put on a ventilator, and being unconscious for three weeks. Then came the economic collapse in 2008, an historic flood a year later that brought the company to its knees, and of course, an unprecedented pandemic in 2020 with COVID. Each time, it was the selfless leadership of Dave and the executive team along with the people of Flavorman that came together when times were toughest and used the crises as opportunities to fortify the foundation of the company and emerge from the adversity stronger and wiser. That’s The Flavorman Way. And Flavorman and Moonshine University have never lost their way for more than thirty years now thanks to the wisdom, expertise, and passion of their fearless leader, Mr. Dave Dafoe – the only person to be named U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year for the second time.

The SBA National Small Business Week (NSBW) celebration is April 30-May 6, 2023. On April 30 and May 1, the SBA will recognize the 2023 Small Business Persons of the Year from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The National Small Business Person of the Year will be announced on Monday, May 1, along with other national awards.

The SBA Kentucky District Office will announce soon its other Small Business Week Award Winners. All will be recognized at the “Kentucky Celebrates Small Business” on May 10, 2023. Hosted by the Kentucky SBDC, the event will also recognize their 2023 Pacesetter Award Winners. More details will be available soon.

Co-sponsorship Authorization# 23-1-C The SBA’s participation in this cosponsored activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. 

About Flavorman: Founded by David Dafoe in 1992, Flavorman is an industry-leading custom beverage development company based out of Louisville, KY. In contrast to “flavor houses” that manufacture ready-made, “stock” formulations, Flavorman helps clients – big and small – bring custom products to market from concept to production planning and quality control. Flavorman has created over 80,000 unique beverage formulations for brands like Crispin Hard Cider, Formula O2, Jones Soda, Chiquita, Joia Spirit Craft Cocktails, Go Fast Energy, and more. Visit flavorman.com.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration: The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov

About National Small Business Week: For 60 years, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, recognizing the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business and create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness. And in recognizing the changing face of America, the SBA’s National Small Business Week awards honor individuals and businesses that reflect our nation’s rich diversity.   

About SCORE: SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals. Since 1964, SCORE has provided education and mentorship to more than 11 million entrepreneurs. SCORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  


Media Contact:

Lauren Guess
(270) 792-0897
[email protected]

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