Published: May 11, 2023 By

Overland Trail Distillery Over the past five years, Brian Schaefer has been hard at work renovating and remodeling a historic 108-year-old building nestled in the rural countryside of Northeast Colorado. Brian's unwavering vision has been the total transformation of this time-worn structure into the distillery of his dreams that would create a hub of activity, drawing locals to experience something entirely new for the town of Sterling. The Deming Center for Entrepreneurship’s Rural Colorado Workshop Series (RCWS) helped him gain the needed insights to have his dream of opening Overland Trail Distillery “come to fruition”. 

Brian Schaefer grew up as a country farm kid in rural Colorado. Following his high school education, he got an associate degree from Northeastern Junior College in Sterling before earning his Bachelor of Science degree in health and exercise. After moving around to some more populated mountain towns and working at local rec centers planning sports events, Brian decided to move back to Sterling to begin his brewery career. Brian says RCWS gave him resources he didn’t know existed and said that

“It gave me the confidence that yes, I can actually do this. When I moved down here [to Sterling] starting a brewery was just an idea. I didn’t even know if it was even possible”

The highly anticipated distillery is set to open by the end of 2023. Other participants of RCWS Sterling are also coming close to running full-functioning businesses, some are already doing so. RCWS is a progressive five-year program, where participants meet for a reception on Friday and a full-day workshop on Saturday once a year to learn from award-winning entrepreneurship professors how to better their businesses. 

Brian SchaeferShore Up Finale-Sterling Colorado

The fifth and final year for RCWS in Sterling, Colorado, is quickly approaching. This finale event will take place on Friday, June 2nd, and Saturday, June 3rd where entrepreneurs will learn how to use their creativity to enhance their digital tactics, become more efficient in their financial story, and much more! Hosted by the Logan County Economic Development Corporation, join us to learn core elements critical to every successful business venture, regardless of your business’s development stage through what the Deming Center calls “sprints. The 6 sprints bring you through the most important parts of your business and further your development.

The 6 Sprints 

People - How do you hire? How do you fire? How do you create a culture that is great?    

Numbers - Learn how to manage Profit and Loss (P&L) statements, financials management as a CEO, and how to get funding

Marketing - Dive deeper into the world of digital marketing, partnership Marketing, and more.

Local Heros - Hear real-life stories from local entrepreneurs in the rural community.

RCWS Participants from Sterling ColoradoTechnology - How should we look at technology and integrate it into our business? How can we use Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a tool for our startup?

How to Pitch - How can you show your company to a stakeholder the most effectively, whether for press, funding, partnerships, or even an employee?

The Big Finale 

As a part of the RCWS finale in Sterling, 10 days after the workshop there will be a collaborative opportunity for companies to pitch for up to $20,000! Refine your skills, business, and pitch through the RCWS workshop to have a better chance of winning this funding! Deming Center for Entrepreneurship Executive Director Erick Mueller says 

“People who take this workshop come out the other side two or three steps further along in their path because RCWS provides vital tools to be able to grow a business.”

Ready to take the workshop and learn from some of the best entrepreneurial minds?

Register Now!

Entrepreneurs who have the opportunity to attend gain the most valuable insights the start-up world has to offer. Registration closes soon so don’t miss out! 


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