Dean Eberhardt is the co-founder and CEO of Hoplark, a Colorado-based beverage brand offering a new way to experience hops through craft tea and sparkling water. In May 2018, Eberhardt brought Hoplark’s first product, HopTea, to market after 18 months of perfecting the product in Eberhardt’s garage brewery. Hoplark has been committed to doing it the right way: with real ingredients brewed by hand with the utmost quality. A flavor geek at his core, Eberhardt wanted to challenge consumers’ expectations of what is possible using clean and healthy ingredients, while reminding them of flavors and aromas that are familiar to them.
A seasoned entrepreneur with a strong passion for brand building, storytelling, and consumer behavior, Eberhardt leads the growth, expansion, product development and strategy of Hoplark. His exceptional strength in building businesses has brought exponential growth to Hoplark in just a 2-year period; in 2020, the brand’s total sales were 85x its 2018 sales, and its Colorado-based brewery recently doubled its capacity to 35,000 barrels making it the fifth largest craft brewery in Colorado in less than 3 years.
Eberhardt continues to helm his family business, MRC Polymers in Chicago, as he has since 2006, as Chairman. MRC was founded by Eberhardt’s father Daniel in 1980 and has been a pioneering Industrial Grade Plastic Recycling firm for over 40 years. Processing over 30 million pounds of landfill bound plastics annually into quality feedstock for the automotive, appliance and electronics industries, MRC continues to be a pillar of great jobs and environmental support for the community.
Eberhardt received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA in Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies from Carnegie Mellon University – Tepper School of Business. He currently resides in Colorado with his wife and three children
What area(s) of focus would you most like to address with your mentees?
Early stage startup of food businesses.
How do you plan to structure your monthly meetings?
Free flowing focused on actual current challenges.
Finally, who would be an ideal mentee for you in this program, given your areas of expertise and experience?
Sub-$5mm food or beverage startup founder.