Jake TeSelle

Jake TeSelle, founder of Crooked Yard Hops in Bozeman, Montana

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The co-founder of a Bozeman farm that grows hops for local microbreweries has been named entrepreneur of the year by Butte-based business consultancy Headwaters RC&D.

Jake TeSelle, a 2016 mechanical engineering graduate from Montana State University, received the award in November at Headwaters' annual awards event in Butte.

TeSelle and his business partner, Colten Sales, founded Crooked Yard Hops in 2015. The farm began as a 1-acre test plot on the back corner of TeSelle's family's farm near Bozeman, producing 20 pounds of hops its first year.

The business received help from MSU's Blackstone Launchpad and a $38,000 grant from the Montana Department of Agriculture, which allowed it to purchase a mobile harvester.

Crooked Yard is currently finalizing its production facilities, TeSelle said. In addition, Crooked Yard has been developing drying methods for hop cones for use by other small-scale hop yards and has been planning for next season — a year where TeSelle said production is expected to be at commercial scale.

TeSelle said the Headwaters RC&D award means a great deal.

“It's very encouraging to know that my dream is succeeding and that I am surrounded by so many fantastic mentors, friends and family who keep me moving onward and upward,” he said. “This is just the beginning for Crooked Yard and we have a long way to go, but I am confident that if we just keep at it, we will succeed.

Les Craig, director of the Blackstone Launchpad, said TeSelle’s recognition from Headwaters RC&D is well-deserved.

“Jake is one of the hardest working and most accomplished of all the entrepreneurs I have worked with in the LaunchPad. He's also one of the most conscientious and humble,” Craig said. “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.”

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