Aviator Brewery founder and SBTDC client Mark Doble has been named the 2017 Small Business Exporter of the Year for both North Carolina and the Southeast.
Mark established Aviator Brewing in 2008 by himself in an old airplane hangar with two used dairy tanks for brewing. Aviator now has 127 employees and sales of about $3.5 million. They currently export products to South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and New Zealand.
The criteria for the award include: Increased sales, profits and/or employment due to exporting, creative overseas marketing strategies and introduction of unique trading relationships, products or services.
SBTDC counseling and SBA financing has been an integral part of Aviator Brewing's success. In 2011, Mark received two rounds of SBA funding totaling over $900,000, including an SBA 504 loan package to purchase land and a larger space for the brewery
The SBTDC Regional Service Center at NC State University assisted the Aviator team with beverage distribution and market research to help develop their marketing and digital strategy. A student team organized by the SBTDC assisted them in human resources, including the compilation and editing of an employee handbook.
SBTDC International Business Counselor Alex Viva worked with Aviator to employ a direct market entry strategy into foreign markets. This helped Mark and his team to sign a contract with a wholesaler in the United Kingdom for distribution to 1,800 locations.
This is the 5th straight year that an SBTDC client has won the NC Small Business Exporter of the Year award.