Cody Sommer

Company: Stout Brewing Company
Position: Founder & President
Age: 29

WHERE WERE YOU BORN?

Kewanee, IL

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN CHARLOTTE AREA?

10 Years

TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOU?

I’m an IDEA guy. I have a saying, where I think I have “Idea Man” syndrome. Obviously, that is not a real syndrome but for me it means that my mind is never not working. I find myself bouncing up at night to write down things in my phone, or to pull up the Internet and research it. I just can’t help but to think and think BIG at that...I don’t think there is anything that is impossible to achieve if you put your mind to it. I have a wife (Brittany) a step son (Taylor) and a 16- month-old boy (Steel). I have 2 dogs (Stout & Mowgli). My dog Stout is a full-blown English bulldog and I got him when I started the brewery and therefore I thought it would be appropriate to name him Stout.
I am not your typical business executive and in a lot of ways I feel like I break the mold on that. I grew up in a small town with about 600 people is all. My high school class was 140 students. I spent most of my time playing sports and going racing at the dirt tracks in the Midwest. I went to 1 year of college before leaving to pursue a career in NASCAR in Charlotte...I have not looked back since and Charlotte is now HOME. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been in a big meeting with many prominent people and they are discussing where they went to school or what their degree is...they never can believe me when I say, I don’t have a degree and I went to 1 year of community college. They also find it unbelievable when I tell them I used to jump the wall to change tires in NASCAR and now I’m an owner and leading a nationally distributing brewery. I always laugh and say, well doesn’t NASCAR & Beer go good together? Again, goes to show that there is nothing you cannot achieve if you put your mind to it and work unbelievable hard.

DURING YOUR TIME VOLUNTEERING FOR A COMMUNITY ACTIVITY OR PROJECT, WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORIAL MOMENT?

I started my own foundation in Charlotte, The Making Dreams Foundation. I recognize that I am very lucky to be where I am and doing what I am doing. I felt that my journey to get here has been difficult and most people likely would have given up along the way. There are so many talented people and business ideas in the world that never come to fruition because they are the creation of another small town person like I myself was. The resources and connections are rarely sent their way and in many cases these people don’t ever get to accomplish their dreams in business. I started MDF to help young entrepreneurs by “Making Dreams Happen, Through Opportunity” Help take great ideas, vision and leaders under my wing and give them guidance, direction, introductions and any possible help in obtaining their dreams and business goals. The foundation is in it’s infancy but we have made one dream happen. Give Graphics is a Charlotte based graphics company that was founded by a 21 year old with MDF help, support and financing. Long-term, it is my hope to have many entrepreneurs that have created successful businesses because of the foundation.

IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY?

I am still very much a racing guy. As the old saying goes “It’s in my blood” I play guitar on occasion (Self taught) and I am big into most all sports, especially Football... GO PANTHERS!

WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR INTEREST?

This is actually my quote...but I love it and believe it is oh so true. “PASSION IS SOMETHING HARD TO FIND...BUT EASY TO SEE” A lot of people don’t truly understand what passion means. They “Think” they are passionate and in reality it may just be something they really like. I always tell people if you are truly passionate about something, other’s will be able to see that you are passionate about it...it is like a GLOW. Therefore, it is hard to come by in people but easy to see.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE THAT YOU STAND BY?

In 5 years. From a business perspective I think I will have accomplished a lot and therefore done a lot of great things. I mean, I started Stout less than 5 years ago and I can’t help but to see where it already is. However, personally I feel like that is the time in my life where I will really be doing a lot of “DAD” things. I’ll be 34 years old and have a 6 year old boy (Steel). There are a lot of things that will be first time experiences for me around that time with my family. Pee wee football, T Ball and who knows...maybe even the go kart race track if my son has any of that racing in his blood too...and of course if my wife does not freak out.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS?

Attend the Super Bowl when the Carolina Panthers win their first ring.

CAN YOUR SHARE ONE THING THAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

Mexico. I went on business several months back.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU USED YOUR PASSPORT?

I have written some of my own songs and play the guitar. I only know how to play my own songs on the guitar as I taught myself how to play.

WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS?

I don’t really have a HERO. However, I do watch a lot of BIG business people and in a way could say I’m always striving to be on that level. People like Mark Cuban and Marcus Lemonis, etc.

WHO IS YOUR HERO?

I don’t really have a HERO. However, I do watch a lot of BIG business people and in a way could say I’m always striving to be on that level. People like Mark Cuban and Marcus Lemonis, etc.

WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?

Robert Smawleys History of Dirt Track Racing Book.

WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?

Jungle Book on 3D Max. Went with my step son (Taylor)

WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU SAW?

Brantley Gilbert at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was just a small little concert pre-race.