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Made in Madison: 15 things created in the 608

From brands to bands, Madison’s business scene is truly inspired.

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Madison’s businesses are blooming. | Photo by 608today

Made in Madison. Yep, that sure has a nice ring to it. From bands to brands, to snacks and fun finds, we’ve rounded up 15 things homegrown in Mad City.

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Fortune Favors sells high quality pecans in a variety of flavors. | Photo via Fortune Favors

Food and drink

Fortune Favors
No matter how you pronounce it, the pecan is the main attraction at Fortune Favors (formerly Nutkrack). Founded in 2018 by Eric Rupert, formerly the executive chef at Epic Systems, the business is growing exponentially, having recently opened a production facility in Cottage Grove.

New Glarus Brewing Company
Go to almost any local restaurant, festival, or sports stadium, and undoubtedly a Spotted Cow beer can be had. The New Glarus Brewery’s farmhouse ale is, arguably, Wisconsin’s most famous craft beer.

Tribe 9 Foods
Founded in 2017, Tribe 9 Foods is a specialty food company. Its mission is “improving lives through food.” Creating nourishing and functional food, the certified B-Corporation’s brands include Carla’s Pasta, RP’s Pasta, Taste Republic, and Yumbutter.

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Garbage has sold more than 17 million albums worldwide and started in the 608. | Photo via Wikimedia Commons


The band is not “Only Happy When It Rains.” Since forming in Madison in 1993, the band’s been happily playing rock ‘n’ roll to adoring fans. The band consists of Scottish singer Shirley Manson, Duke Erikson, Steve Marker, and Madison’s beloved Butch Vig. The band has sold over 17 million albums.

Ben Sidran
Spending most of his life in Madison, the jazz and rock keyboardist was a member of the Steve Miller Band. He’s played with Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, and Peter Frampton. He’s also the father of Grammy-winning musician Leo Sidran.

Timbuk 3
You probably know their hit song though you might not have known the band who sang it. Timbuk 3 was formed by husband-and-wife team Pat MacDonald and Barbara Kooyman in Madison. The band’s one hit wonder: “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.”

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Trek Bicycles is one of the global leaders in bicycle manufacturing. | Photo by 608today

Manufactured goods

Bock Water Heaters
Employee-owned, the business was founded in 1929 by Oscar Bock. It is now the No. 1 selling oil-fired water heater in North America.

Stoughton Trailers
One of the industry’s leading manufacturers of semi-truck trailers, van trailers, and grain trailers, it started in Stoughton in 1961. Now, one of Dane County’s largest manufacturers, their 680,000-sqft plant is assembling trailers and chassis.

Trek Bicycles
If there’s one thing Madisonians like doing, it’s trekking on a bicycle. Trek, based in Waterloo, started in a small Wisconsin barn in 1976. Now, the bike manufacturer is loved the world over.


American Girl Dolls
Though the corporate headquarters recently moved from the 608 to California, the doll maker’s distribution center in DeForest is going strong. First released in 1986, and founded by Pleasant Rowland in Middleton, the dolls are in the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Chris Farley
The “fat guy in a little coat” is, arguably, Madison’s most famous son. Farley’s family have given their blessing for an upcoming biopic of the SNL legend’s life. It is to be directed by Josh Gad and will star Paul Walter Hauser.

The Onion
The digital media company is a behemoth, now based in Chicago. It started as a weekly print publication in 1988 in Madison. Founded by UW-Madison students Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson, it originally satirized Madisonian news. It soon blossomed into what it is today: a site that has some truly inspired headlines.

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Exact Sciences is on the forefront of cancer detection products. | Photo via Wikimedia Commons


Bell Laboratories
For over fifty years, Bell Laboratories, Inc. has been on the forefront of rodent control products. Founded in 1975 by Malcolm Stack, it started with one product, the Rodent Cake.

Epic Systems
Epic is pretty epic (its corporate campus architecture is something). The healthcare software company started in 1979. Hospitals that use its software hold medical records of 78% of patients in the US. Think: MyChart.

Exact Sciences
Headquartered in Madison, Exact Sciences Corp. launched Cologuard in 2014, the first stool DNA test for colorectal cancer. With colorectal cancers on the rise among young people, affecting both men and women nearly equally, Exact Sciences collaborates with the Mayo Clinic on its products.

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