Client Success Story | Dorćol Distilling & Brewing Company

(L-R) Chris Mobley, Boyan Kalusevic, Randy Ward

(L-R) Chris Mobley, Boyan Kalusevic, Randy Ward

In a 2020 New Year’s blog post, Dorćol Distilling Company resolved to spread the deliciousness of their High Wheel beers and make the distillery’s location more of a second home for their guests. No one could have predicted that our resolutions would be so drastically interrupted. The world was suddenly thrown into the reality of a global pandemic that quickly made life more difficult for small business owners everywhere; especially in the food & beverage industry. San Antonio businesses were forced to adapt, apply for emergency funding, or sadly close. In a time of uncertainty, Dorćol’s co-founders Boyan Kalusevic and Chris Mobley utilized the services of UTSA SBDC and Senior Advisor Crystal Darby to help navigate and innovate.

Dorćol’s business history goes back to its founding in 2012, but its creation story goes back much further to Boyan’s childhood in Serbia. Boyan’s experience in  distilling spirits began on his family’s farm located in Dorćol, just outside of Belgrade, where his family distilled rakia, a grape-based alcohol, for generations. Boyan moved to the States at the age of 10 and his family’s legacy never left his mind.

In 2003, Boyan met Chris Mobley while attending the University of Texas and as the two became friends they discussed opening a business together. It was soon after a trip to Europe where Chris was able to see Boyan’s family tradition for himself, that they decided the business would be a distillery.

Boyan and Chris first came to the UTSA SBDC in 2012 to seek funding assistance and received an SBA 504 loan through TexStar Bank and Accion (now LiftFund). Armed with established financial assistance and years of research and dedication, they were able to open Dorćol Distilling Company in 2013 on the corner of La Chapelle and South Flores streets, in the heart of a historically underserved area of San Antonio.

One of their greatest feats was bringing a copper still from Serbia to the San Antonio location and the decision proved fruitful as it quickly set them apart from other aspiring local trendsetters. Dorćol’s first product was the Kinsman Rakia, the famed Serbian brandy but with the twist of being made with apricots. In 2015, Dorćol added their High Wheel line of beers to the product line through bringing on Randy Ward, an award-winning brewmaster.

Dorćol’s spirits and craft beers have been recognized and awarded nationally, propelling them onto cocktail and restaurant menus all over Texas. The Southtown distillery location includes a bar, office space and indoor/outdoor seating in addition to the distilling equipment room.

Everything was tracking well for nationwide distribution and then COVID-19 brought the food and beverage service industry to a grinding halt. Boyan didn’t hesitate to reach out to UTSA SBDC Advisor Crystal Darby for assistance in applying for emergency disaster funding and the Paycheck Protection Program. Crystal has also been able to help navigate local city and county restrictions, including exploring adding independent food trucks to the property. Dorćol continues to innovate by offering to-go service and recently participated in a virtual guided beer tasting. They also continue to expand their distribution opportunities, making Dorćol’s Kinsman and High Wheel beers available to everyone in convenient shopping locations.

Throughout the roller coaster that has been 2020, the team at Dorćol have shown perseverance, passion, and a sincere gratitude for their customers that prove the storm can be weathered.

Crystal Darby and Boyan at Dorcol

UTSA SBDC Senior Advisor Crystal Darby (pictured left) celebrates a birthday at Dorcol with Boyan and friends

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