$50,000 prototype grant awarded Lincoln company for cutting-edge bottling system

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$50,000 prototype grant awarded Lincoln company for cutting-edge bottling system

With help from a $50,000 Nebraska Innovation Fund Prototyping Program (Pre-seed Stage) grant, Norland International is on its way to developing another state-of-the-art bottling system. The program is administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

With help from a $50,000 Nebraska Innovation Fund Prototyping Program (Pre-seed Stage) grant, Norland International is on its way to developing another state-of-the-art bottling system. The program is administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

The 20-year-old Lincoln, Neb., manufacturing company is a leading producer of state-of-the-art systems for the bottled water industry. This new system is being developed for beer and other carbonated beverages as part of the company’s American Beer Equipment Division’s product line.

A bottling system currently being designed in partnership with Storz Brewing Company will process about 60 bottles of beer per minute. Norland will develop and market additional smaller systems that process 30 and 15 bottles of beer, respectively, per minute.

“We are grateful for this grant from the Department of Economic Development, not just for its monetary value, but because it supports the vision and pioneering entrepreneurial spirit of Nebraska businesses, allowing all of us to grow,” said Tom Markel, managing member of Storz Brewing Company.

Norland International expects to create four to six full-time positions, including mechanical engineers and technicians as a result of developing and installing the systems for Storz Brewing Company, as well as systems for future customers. Norland staff is instrumental in the set-up and training phases for all customers.

In addition to the new jobs at Norland International, the new bottling system will lead to the creation of positions at other companies and their suppliers that fabricate and assemble system components. Storz Brewing also will need to hire as many as seven employees to operate the bottling system.

“For the state, this is money well spent in the sense that it goes way beyond job creation to encompass the partnership and significant investment of all partners in creating this prototype,” said Mike McFarland, Norland International co-founder and president.

In addition to its water and beer bottling business, Norland International operates a beer and carbonated beverages canning line used by Blue Blood Brewing Company, which brews Storz’ beers.

“The Storz and Markel families have been a part of the deep-rooted Nebraska spirit and economic fabric dating back to 1863. This generous grant supports three small businesses within the state—Storz Brewing Company, Norland International and Blue Blood Brewing,” said Markel. “We believe this four-legged approach to business development, where the State and three small businesses invest time, money and resources to develop a previously non-existing technology, will strengthen economic growth and create long-term jobs for Nebraskans.”

The Nebraska Innovation Fund provides financial assistance to individuals and businesses operating in Nebraska to support proof of concept activities and commercialization of products or processes. Applicants first apply for the Nebraska Prototyping Program (pre-seed stage) grant to support the conceptual intellectual properties that are then actually created with the support of a Nebraska Innovation Fund-Prototype grant.

Guidelines for the pre-seed stage grants will be available soon. Funding for the Nebraska Innovation Fund-Prototype grants will become available again in January 2014. Applications will be accepted beginning in mid-December.

For information, go to: http://staging.neded.org/business/talent-a-innovation-initiative/business-innovation-act, or contact Christina Bartels at 800-426-6505, 402-471-3172, or christina.bartels@nebraska.gov .

Patty Wood at 800-426-6505, 402-471-1559 or patty.wood@nebraska.gov