For its Business of the Year awards, the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce selected two local businesses in the middle of expansion efforts.
Free State Brewing Co. is the organization’s large business of the year, and the Bowersock Mills & Power Co. won the small business of the year award.
Chuck Magerl, owner of Free State Brewing Co., said the award was a “wonderful acknowledgment” of the company’s longevity in Lawrence. It has been in Lawrence for 21 years.
The company is beginning to offer retail bottle and keg sales of its beer products in the region, including both in Kansas and Missouri, Magerl said.
“It’s fun to have a couple little nods and acknowledgments like this,” he said.
Sarah Hill Nelson, Bowersock’s owner and operator, said she considered it a great honor to be named a business of the year.
“We are very proud to receive the award alongside Free State,” she said of the brewery, which served as Bowersock’s conference room in the company’s infancy. “We feel that we’re in very good company.”
Bowersock is in the middle of an expansion effort to place a new hydroelectric plant on the north bank of the Kansas River. Nelson said she appreciated the chamber rewarding a business taking a risk.
“All businesses, to be successful, have to take some risks,” she said. “We really feel grateful for the community support.”