MADISON -- Crave Brothers Farm and Farmstead Cheese of Waterloo was among eight family businesses honored at the 14th annual Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Awards banquet Thursday at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center.

Five grand awards, with Crave being among those, were presented, along with three special awards.

"The resilience and creativity of the family businesses we see is remarkable. Five of this year's nominees are over 100 years old," said Julie Bogle, lead Partner in the Family Business practice at Smith & Gesteland, the awards' founding sponsor. "They are the cornerstones in their communities. We love recognizing the wonderful things they have done in Wisconsin."

A total of 31 companies were nominated for the awards. Winners were selected by an independent panel of judges. Grand awards were presented in three size categories: large, with 100 or more employees; medium, with 25-99 staff members; and small, with less than 25. Special awards were given by the judges to companies excelling in a particular area.

In addition to Crave Brothers, which won its Grand award in the medium-size category, Grand awards were presented to Brakebush Brothers, Inc., Westfield; and Wiedenbeck, Inc. of Monona. Brakebush is a large company, while Wiedenbeck is classified as small.

Crave prides itself, in part, on the fact its products are produced with renewable energy.

In addition to being family-owned, the farm uses its own farm fresh milk, is a "carbon-negative" company, uses sustainable farming practices, utilizes recyclable packaging, uses 100 percent green power and engages in high levels of conservation and recycling.

"Our manure digester produces more electricity than we need for our farm and cheese factory," the Crave website stated.

Special awards and titles were presented to Central Storage & Warehouse Co., Inc., Madison; County Materials Corporation, Marathon; Stoughton Trailers, LLC, Stoughton; Reynolds Transfer & Storage, Inc., Madison; and Qual Line Corporation, Waunakee.

The judges and sponsors also recognized Alex Upendo, founder of Build-a-Bow, LLC of Racine as an "Outstanding Entrepreneur" for his work to raise awareness of bullying.

The Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Award is sponsored by Smith & Gesteland, LLP, a Madison-based CPA and business consulting firm, First Business Bank and the Husch Blackwell law firm, to highlight and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of family businesses that make an impact on their communities and on the Wisconsin economy.

Further information about the award can be found at

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