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Top 10: Most popular CompanyWeek profiles from Q1 2015

By Eric Peterson | Apr 09, 2015

Aerospace & Electronics Consumer & Lifestyle Energy & Enviro Food & Beverage Industrial & Equipment

In our quarterly recap of weekly manufacturing features, the best-read sectors were beer, lifestyle, and heavy-duty: aerospace and nuclear.

10. StickerGiant (Longmont)

Founder John Fischer started printing stickers for a wide range of customers -- breweries to bands to anybody in need of a label -- in 2006 because he was getting so many calls. "Every day, the phone would ring and I'd send them somewhere else," Fischer explains.

Eight years later, StickerGiant printed 9,300 football fields of stickers lengthwise, and Fischer expects to print even more in 2015. The company has more than 30,000 customers, including a who's who of craft breweries, ski resorts, and musicians.

Read the rest here.

9. The Real Dill (Denver)

It's something of a juggling act, says co-founder Justin Park. "Every jar of pickles we make is four more jars of Bloody Mary mix we could have made. It's definitely about finding a balance."

In October 2014, the company moved into a 4,600-square-foot facility (a.k.a. "The Dillery") in Denver's Baker neighborhood that it shares with Elevation Organic Ketchup, RedCamper and Backyard Soda Co. and consolidated operations. It's a major step up from their former kitchen -- it was 350 square feet in all.

Read the rest here.

8. Wild Goose Canning (Boulder)

Co-founders Jeff Aldred and Alexis Foreman are taking the can-happy craft beer industry by storm. Sales are projected to double in 2015.

Wild Goose Canning's fastest canner, the WGC-250, produces up to 40 cans of beer a minute. That's impressive on its own right, but when you consider that the unit is roughly three feet by seven feet, it's astonishing. Perhaps that's why the company has sold more than 200 canning machines since launching.

Read the rest here.

7. Colorado Cylinder Stoves (Grand Junction)

Owner Wes Beaver has found a new market for the longstanding sheet metal shop -- stoves for the recreational market. The company is on fire.

Lunsford Manufacturing and Sheet Metal hit a speed bump after four decades in business on the Western Slope.

"We were a sheet-metal shop and we still are," says Beaver. "In the downturn of the economy, we needed to make our plasma machines busy, so we started making cylinder stoves for the recreational market."

The company started with "onesies and twosies” but soon scaled up and has since manufactured thousands of stoves and sells through such retailers as Cabela's, Gander Mountain, and Bass Pro Shops.

Read the rest here.

6. Micro Metals (Colorado Springs)

A single source supplier of precision parts to companies for more than 42 years, today's family-owned operation manufactures custom metal products for the energy, aerospace, government, telecommunications, and construction industries.

The production-level job shop's handles everything from long runs -- starting with on-site engineering and prototype design -- to complete product manufacture and distribution. Capabilities include cutting precision components on state-of-the-art laser and waterjet machines, robotic press braking, roll-forming, blanking, punching, assembly, and painting custom parts.

Read the rest here.

5. NFT (Golden)

Gil Brassell spun NFT off from of his work on the cleanup of Rocky Flats in the early 1980s.

The former nuclear weapons facility between Golden and Boulder -- and others like it -- had a serious problem. "Back in the Cold War years when they were making nuclear weapons at a crazy pace, the waste would go into 55- and 85-gallon drums," says President John Allbery. "They would seal them and bury them 200 feet below ground."

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4. Avery Brewing (Boulder)

The new 96,000-square-foot facility is bank-financed, with an assist from city incentives. Founder Adam Avery says the entire operation will move by the end of March.

He's happy to consolidate the brewery's operations, which gradually took over three separate structures in an industrial area. "We were in a hodgepodge of different buildings," he says.

Read the rest here.

3. Icelantic Skis (Denver)

When Icelantic began making skis in Colorado nearly a decade ago, it was one of the first ski companies to manufacture in the U.S.

The company was founded by friends Ben Anderson (who began building skis in his parents' garage), Travis Parr, and Travis Cook. Annelise Loevlie, Icelantic's CEO, was also friends with the founders but came on in an official capacity later."We all grew up together in Idaho Springs and Evergreen," Loevlie says.

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2. Woodward (Fort Collins)

For a company that generates $2 billion in annual revenues, Woodward, Inc. maintains a surprisingly low profile. That will change once the nameplate Colorado brand opens its new 300,000-square-foot industrial turbomachinery systems and 60,000-square-foot corporate headquarters buildings in early 2016. The site will be one of 14 global locations.

Engine Systems President Chad Preiss and Industrial Turbomachinery Systems President Jim Rudolph, two of the company's four business group chiefs, say the $250 million campus represents a dynamic open-design launch pad for innovation and collaboration.

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1. Odell Brewing Company (Fort Collins)

After deciding to launch a brewery, the husband-and-wife team of Doug and Wynne Odell looked around their home city at the time, Seattle, and decided they needed to relocate. "We thought there were too many breweries around the Northwest," says Doug.

So they looked southeast to the Rockies and Fort Collins popped off the map at the couple, who founded the brewery with Doug's sister, Corkie Odell. At that point, there were exactly zero breweries in Fort Collins.

"By the time we opened, we were the third one," recalls Doug. Now there are 16 breweries in the city, but only CooperSmith's has been in business longer than Odell. (The other one shut down in the intervening years.)

Read the rest here.