6. Founders Brewing Co. racked up (and overcame) $1 million in debt
Even though craft breweries are now popping up like wildflowers, it's not always easy to maintain the cost for start up and expansion of a, uh, wildflower. During Founders' first four years as a Grand Rapids, MI brewery, it managed to pile up more than a million dollars in debt, including $500,000 to the Federal Government in beer excise taxes, and a defaulted $500,000 bank loan. The property's landlord threatened to boot them out with a week's notice. Lucky for them, though, an investor bailed them out, covered the debt, and marked the turning point for the brewery, which's since stopped worrying about making balanced, unremarkable beers, and reinvented the brand with beers like Dirty Bastard, Curmudgean, and Breakfast Stout.