Bur Oak Brewing Company — Columbia

  • Published: Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015

Craig Stitcher, founder and president of Bur Oak BeerWe recently received the following testimonial from Craig Stitcher, founder, president and when required, janitor of Bur Oak Brewing Company, Columbia, founded with the help of the University of Missouri Extension Business Development Program (BDP):

We have been launched as a new business for 15 months now. The future is bright for Bur Oak Brewing Company. I am the president, and before I began my business plan, I enrolled in the Kaufmann FastTrac program offered through the MU Extension Business Development Program – Small Business Development Center (SBDC). It was wildly helpful to the successful launch of my business. Dr. Jim Gann was my mentor through this 16-week course.

Gann, then BDP director of technology business development, is now director of business engagement with the Office of the Vice Provost for Economic Development, University of Missouri. FastTrac NewVenture, regularly offered by the SBDC, helps entrepreneurs explore the feasibility of their business concept and develop a viable business plan. Participants also learn about startup issues, how to address the competition, legal matters, marketing and financial management. FastTrac participants don’t just learn about business, they work on their business in the course.

Stitcher, an engineer by trade, was more than capable of the technical details of establishing a brewery. Being an entrepreneur was a whole new challenge, and Gann steered him through the course, later reviewing financial data with a fine-toothed comb so Stichter and his partners could secure the loans they needed.

The result?

Bur Oak Boone County Brown beer

Boone County Brown porter, one of Bur Oak’s signature

Bur Oak began selling Trail Bender Wheat, Boone County Brown, DeVine IPA and such seasonal offerings as a saison (a highly carbonated, fruity, spicy beer) from their tasting room, local bars and restaurants in 2014 to enthusiastic community response:

Great tour, great beer, friendly people! Two thumbs up!

Beautiful tasting room and facility. Awesome to get a tour from the owner and see his passion for the place.

Bur Oak beers are also sold in Missouri and Illinois Dierbergs, Hy-Vee, Schnucks, Lucky’s and other retail locations; and are coming soon to Iowa.