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Carolyn Hardy’s ‘secret’ was a really big deal

For some time now, Carolyn Hardy has been a CEO with a secret. A few who had come across her path stepped away with a sense that perhaps a deal was brewing. For some time now, Carolyn Hardy has been a CEO with a secret. A few who had come across her path stepped away with a sense that perhaps a deal was brewing.

Carolyn Hardy (right) during Wednesday’s announcement that Hardy Bottling Company has inked a deal with City Brewing Company, the largest dedicated contract manufacturer of brewed products in North America. Also pictured: Mayor A C Wharton (center) and George Parke, President and CEO of City Brewing. (Photo by Earl Stanback)

Wow, was it ever.

Now Hardy, the founder of Hardy Bottling Company, is being lauded for her role in helping create 500 new jobs – the result of City Brewing Company, one of the premier contract beverage producers in the U.S., acquiring the Hardy Bottling facility on Raines Rd.

“The acquisition of this facility will give City Brewing the capacity and the geographic location to serve their customers for many years to come,” said Mayor A C Wharton, as the Memphis Economic Development Partnership (MemphisED) made an announcement of the deal at City Hall on Wednesday.

 “We are so thankful to Carolyn Hardy and her team for bringing this fabulous new company to our community and for Carolyn’s undying determination to keep these brewing and bottling jobs in Memphis/Shelby County.”

Hardy, CEO of Chism Hardy Enterprises, LLC (a/k/a Hardy Bottling Company) alerted the Tri-State Defender of the deal in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. She noted that Hardy and George Parke, President and CEO of City Brewing Company, had signed an Asset Purchase Agreement for the sale of the Memphis brewery to City Brewing Company.

“This transaction will provide this great facility with its modern brewery the opportunity it deserves to utilize its great capacity and ability to brew a wide variety of beers and malt beverages,” said Hardy. “I believe it will fulfill my dream to return it to its highest and best use, which is brewing great beers.”

City Brewing Company, the largest dedicated contract manufacturer of brewed products in North America, plans to invest $41 million into the facility purchased from Hardy. City Brewing provides contract packaging of traditional beers, fermented malt beverages as well as teas and energy drinks for both national and international beverage companies.

The Memphis/Shelby County Industrial Development Board on Wednesday approved a PILOT incentive that will reduce the company’s tax liability by $5.7 million over a 15-year period. During that timeframe, city and county governments will generate $33.5 million in new revenues from the project. An analysis by IDB staff shows a project benefit versus cost ratio of 5.8 to 1, or the creation of $5.80 in new revenues generated for each dollar forgiven in future tax liabilities.

The Greater Memphis Chamber has committed to work closely with City Brewing and the Workforce investment network to make employment information available to the public as soon as possible.

“We are very excited about the job opportunities this project will bring to our county,” said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. “These are very high paying jobs with incredible benefits with a company that has a proven track record as an industry leader.”

City Brewing will pay their employees in Memphis an average wage of $41,705 per year. In addition, the company will provide a benefit package equaling 40 percent of the wage, including health and dental insurance, 401k, sick leave and bonus compensation. Close to 90 percent of the jobs created at the facility will be available to people with a high school education or equivalency.

John Moore, President & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, said the goal of the MemphisED Partnership has always been high paying jobs with great benefits for  citizens.

 “Our great ED team would not be able to identify, facilitate and execute these types of complex projects without the resources we get each year from the Memphis Fast Forward steering committee,” Moore said. “The work that has been done by the Memphis ED partners over the past three years is truly starting to pay dividends to our community.”

Founded in 2000, City Brewing Company is the 4th largest brewer in the United States. The company has over 6,000,000 barrels of capacity between it breweries in La Crosse, Wis. and Latrobe, Pa. The company currently has approximately 720 employees.

The acquisition of the Hardy Bottling Plant offers City Brewing the ability to rapidly increase its capacity for brewing, packaging and distribution for its existing customer base, as well as to expand its brewing and packaging services to new customers and markets.

“City Brewing Company welcomes the opportunity to work with Carolyn Hardy and the current staff to fully develop the brewing and packaging capabilities of the Memphis facility,” said Parke.

“This is truly a significant occasion for our industry and a unique and remarkable opportunity for Memphis, Tennessee,” said Hardy.

Hardy Bottling is a full line contract manufacturer of carbonated and non-carbonated beverages. The company specializes in manufacturing well-known brands of beverages that can be manufactured and packaged in cans, glass bottles, aluminum bottles and plastic bottles. In addition, it offers warehousing and distribution services for its customers.

The new partnership is another strong step that Hardy Bottling President Carolyn Hardy has engineered in a bounce back from $45 million in tornado damage in 2008.

In an interview (10-28-10) with Tri-State Defender “On our way to wealthy” columnist Carlee McCullough, Hardy was asked what contributes to the success of an entrepreneur?

“Relationships! Relationships! Relationships! And then you have to be willing to go where no one has gone before you,” said Hardy.

“What I mean by that is that you have got to put your pride in your pocket. If you see something you want, then go get it.”

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