Adam and Amanda Kroener experienced a first-hand need for a product when they were trying to maintain a low-carbohydrate, low-calorie diet, so they developed it themselves. Their product, Carbliss, offers a vodka hard seltzer with full flavor and no sugar!
The entrepreneurial journey to start the SNFood and Beverage business began when Adam met Ray York at a Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce leadership class in 2018. Since Ray is a small business owner himself and works as a Business Consultant with the UW-Green Bay Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in partnership with Sheboygan County Economic Development (SCEDC), Adam approached Ray with his business idea.
Adam and Amanda already had a basic business plan established, but Ray helped them revise it to present to lenders and establish a line of credit. Adam said, “I appreciate that Ray is a straight shooter. He makes it easy to develop a back-and-forth working relationship.” The couple had three flavors of their ready-to-drink vodka cocktail on shelves in stores in September 2019. To expand the flavor offerings, they then developed six other flavors and invited a panel of VIP guests to participate in the fun tasting event. Two flavors were overwhelming selected, but then the COVID-19 crisis hit.
The couple was now ready to launch in Nebraska, Colorado and Florida, but the virus crisis had them on hold. “The orders were in, but we were waiting to do the official launch right,” Amanda said. The promotional events planned for the launch were rescheduled for the end of 2020. They are patiently waiting to reveal the new flavor and expand beyond Wisconsin.
When they hit a couple obstacles with taxes and laws concerning the alcohol industry in different states, Ray introduced them to Jeffrey Glazer, an attorney working at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. Adam said the coaching session with Jeffrey was “the best thing that could’ve happened to me.”
Accomplishments with UW-Green Bay SBDC
- Capital infusion
- Business plan
- Legal resources
Amanda said one of the greatest parts of starting the business is giving back to the local community. They donate their time and their product to many government and educational organizations and charity events. They helped aid several community members through fundraisers and assisted with the Sheboygan hockey tournament. Both partners serve as mentors in Sheboygan South High School’s entrepreneurial class. They help students apply knowledge learned about product development and marketing strategy, and they assist in the final pitch event. They even sponsored one of the SCEDC’s meetings. “Being able to give back makes everything worth it,” Amanda shared.
SNFood and Beverage looks forward to the upcoming reveal of the additional Carbliss flavor and their expansion into new markets soon!