Louisville's Flavorman company celebrates 25 years
From humble beginnings 25 years ago, Flavorman's creations can now be bought worldwide.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- From humble beginnings 25 years ago, Flavorman now plays a vital role in big-name beverage companies worldwide.
"There's hardly a grocery store in this country and parts of the world that you can go to and not see a product we developed right here in Louisville," said David Dafoe, founder and CEO of Flavorman.
Name any drink and scientists will develop the formula from Flavorman's laboratory.
"Right now, I'm making a strawberry margarita, a ready to drink cocktail," said Kristen Wemer, Flavorman's lab manager.
The science of Flavorman began on a whim. "I got this interview at this flavor company. I thought they made ice cream," Dafoe said.
Freeze and Freeze was a flavor-making company and Dafoe was put to the test. "They asked me what flavor each of them were. I got them all right and they hired me on the spot because as it turned out, I'm a super taster," Dafoe said.
Dafoe has a rare gift. "For instance, I can eat a bite out of an apple and tell you all the flavor chemicals that are in there and then put them back together and then make an apple flavor for you."
He founded Flavorman in 1992, originally calling it Proliquitech. "As it turns out, it was really hard for people to remember and it was really hard for them to spell. So, we adopted over time, Flavorman."
The company began in a condo, where it secured its first big client: Chiquita Brands. It moved into a 4,000 square-foot space before calling their downtown space home in 2005.
"We're developing products and flavors for companies all over the world. You couldn't name a flavor that we couldn't do in Louisville, in this laboratory," Dafoe said.
Flavorman has seen its share of growth in 25 years, opening a distillery education center next door, developing a client base of 1,000 and assisting many of them with production and quality control.
"Most people that probably live in the next block, don't even know what we do, but we've assembled some of the best experts in the whole world to develop these beverages and we do it right. The industry knows who we are, but I bet you most people don't know what we do, even here in Louisville."
However, it's the environment that Dafoe has created for about 32 employees that makes him most proud. "It's a cool company to work for, and I like working here, in fact, I love working here."
The company where Dafoe originally began his career is now known as Givaudan, the largest flavor company in the world.
Dafoe said the company is preparing for yet another venture. While he didn't elaborate, he hinted that it will be beverage-related and something the industry needs.
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