By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Aug 18, 2005 at 5:25 AM

{image1} As the winner of the "Most Deserving Small Business" makeover contest held by "Entrepreneur" magazine and Xerox, the offices of Glendale's Sprecher Brewing Co. were transformed from outdated and awkward spaces to a cohesive executive suite in just two weeks.

Under the style-savvy eye of interior design specialist Thom Filicia of Bravo's Emmy Award-nominated show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," a team from the Brown Deer-based D&E Contractors Unlimited completely transformed what Filicia described as an office as appealing as "a bad batch of brew," into a fresh, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing work space.

With the 1970s-style paneled walls now replaced with bright color schemes and new upscale furniture from the HON Company, brewery founder and owner Randy Sprecher says that he barely recognized his new and improved 3,000-sq. ft. office when he saw it for the first time Monday morning.

"We are all totally impressed. They've managed to upgrade the space entirely while keeping bits and pieces of our industrial roots. They raised the ceilings in my office, allowing for bigger windows and more natural light," says Sprecher. "It's really refreshing."

Each of the 17 workstations boasts walls freshly painted in a cheerful scheme of light yellows complimented by red carpet, creatively integrating the colors of Sprecher logo into the space.

The warmth of the colors add a welcoming element to the area, and the accents -- vintage Milwaukee artwork and bowls of malted barley -- also offer subtle hints of the earthy and organic origins of beer.

On top of the fashionable facelift, the office also received something of a technological boost. Sprecher was presented with several new Xerox document systems, including color printers, copiers, scanners, flat-panel computer monitors and a digital projector for a new conference area. Since Sprecher previously had one printer and one fax machine for the entire staff, the new techno-gifts will create a more efficient system as the company continues to grow.

What made Sprecher Brewing Co. the most deserving company in the country?

{image2} From a visual standpoint, the drab green carpet, the clutter and the mismatched furniture would have been enough to catch any remodeler's eye, had this contest been based solely on aesthetics. But Xerox and "Entrepreneur" saw something in Sprecher that fulfilled the other standing contest requirement: philanthropy.

"It was a combination of our obviously outdated look, our lack of sufficient technology and, I think, most importantly, our input to the community," says Sprecher, who founded the microbrewery in 1985 in Walker's Point.

The brewery was chosen because of its continued contribution to Milwaukee. Each year Sprecher donates thousands of dollars worth of beverage products to local charities, participates in fundraising events for local organizations and operates its own charity festival, Sprecherfest.

Interior design seemed to have taken a back seat to community involvement over the years.

"We've been in the Glendale location for 11 years, and remodeling was always on our list," says Sprecher. "I think it's going to have an amazing impact on us."

Results and photos of the makeover will be included in the November issue of "Entrepreneur" magazine.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”