Rocky Mountain Brewing News February/March 2017 : Page 1
FEB/MAR • 2017 VOL 15 • NO. 1 The addition of the Proper Brewing bottleshop has allowed them to expand the varieties available. Copper Kettle patrons toasting at a Night to Remember fundraiser. Story and Photos by Brian Manternach Story and Photos by Scott Grossman irds of prey, snakes, dogs, and musical instruments don’t normally come to mind when thinking of breweries. However, when brew-ers want to go the extra mile and expose their customers to favorite charities, they will hap-pily open their doors for nonprofits to com-municate their message up close and personal. Two22 Brew in Aurora, Colorado, and Copper Kettle Brewing in Denver are just two of the breweries that have partnered with animal rescues, local orchestras, B and other causes to create hands-on taproom experiences where patrons can see, hear, and touch the subjects of the nonprofits. In addi-tion to bringing the charities to their customers, several breweries tap into their own profits to support causes near to their hearts and communities. One of the most unique efforts is Lady Justice Brewing in northwest Denver, which operates as a completely non-profit brewery with a mission to support See Passions p.2 Chasing the Dream Colorado Calendar of Events ......................3 Craft Beer Directory .............. 8-10 Homebrewing .............................15 INSIDE Montana..........5 Idaho...............6 Wyoming.........7 Utah...............11 State by State News Western Slope..........12 Four Corners...........12 Denver.......................12 Central Peaks...........13 Front Range.............14 he path to success in many job markets is fairly predictable: education, internship, part-time job, full-time job. Then, after a certain amount of time, dedicated workers ascend through the employ-ee ranks and are rewarded with high-er-level positions. Mix in hard work and passion and the American dream is all but achieved. Rio Connelly hoped for a simi-larly smooth route in the craft brewing field, but it ended up being much less direct. Though he now serves as head brewer of both Avenues Proper Restaurant & Publick House and Proper Brewing Company in Salt Lake City, his ascendancy in the industry was any-thing but proper. Born and raised in Salt Lake City during a time when the local brewery scene was present but fledgling, he chose to attend college in the Pacific Northwest where his eyes were opened to a world of craft beer like he had never seen. With his brother, Liam, he began homebrewing and dreaming of a career as a brewer. T After college, Connelly returned to Utah and began working in a state-run liquor store—where he spent most of his paycheck on beer— before being hired at the Beer Nut homebrew supply store. After a year of learning all he could about ingre-dients, varieties, and the brewing process, he felt ready to pursue the next step. Connelly called nearly 100 breweries all over the country hoping for an unpaid internship or a part-time job at minimum wage. He was even willing to pay his own moving expenses just to get his foot in the door somewhere. Not a single job offer came. Many of the brewers he spoke with suggested he try to find work with one of the local breweries, but in Utah there were only a handful of choices and none of them were hiring. Lamenting the situation to Dave Cole, a regular customer at the Beer Nut, Connelly learned that Cole was one of the owners of the new Epic Brewing Company that was scheduled to open just blocks away from the Beer Nut. See Proper p.4
Combined Passions: Charity, Beer, And Community
Copper Kettle patrons toasting at a Night to Remember fundraiser.
Birds of prey, snakes, dogs, and musical instruments don’t normally come to mind when thinking of breweries. However, when brewers want to go the extra mile and expose their customers to favorite charities, they will happily open their doors for nonprofits to communicate their message up close and personal. Two22 Brew in Aurora, Colorado, and Copper Kettle Brewing in Denver are just two of the breweries that have partnered with animal rescues, local orchestras, and other causes to create hands-on taproom experiences where patrons can see, hear, and touch the subjects of the nonprofits. In addition to bringing the charities to their customers, several breweries tap into their own profits to support causes near to their hearts and communities.
Chasing the Dream
One of the most unique efforts is Lady Justice Brewing in northwest Denver, which operates as a completely non-profit brewery with a mission to support women’s causes. After a grueling fundraising session working for AmeriCorps, Kate Power, Betsy Lay and Jen Cuesta turned an afterwork, beer-inspired discussion into this communitycentered nanobrewery. The three friends realized that they had a passion for supporting good work but little enthusiasm for asking people for money. Kate summarized the simplicity of their idea of making beer to help charity, “We were just trying to combine two things that we really liked and wanted to do.” Betsy added they felt it was important to “take something that you love to do and you can combine that with empowering communities to do better.”
Volunteers at Two22 are very involved in the community, with the brewery sponsoring various events and providing opportunities to give.
The ladies call their unusual business model a Community Supported Brewery (CSB) and began by producing beers for fundraisers held by women’s charities. More recently this evolved into a subscription-based club where members get monthly beer releases. The third Sunday of each month the brewery opens for pickup and in addition to getting beer, subscribers can make connections with other like-minded supporters, chat with the Lady Justice ladies, and sometimes see the beer-making process. The first six-month subscription period is almost finished and Lady Justice plans to start their second late this spring. The dream is to grow the subscriber base, have more grant money, and maybe even open a taproom.
At Two222 Nate and Lauren McBeth fill a bag of food and books for children to take home over the holidays.
Two22 in Aurora, Colorado, started from a similar concept but jumped right to a full retail taproom and production facility. The nameTwo22 references the brewery’s goal to donate $2.22 of every $10 in profit to the Schuster Family Foundation. Owner Paige Schuster and her mother started the foundation to honor Paige’s father and provide grants to local Colorado charities that focus on the environment, education, and “whole person” enrichment. Like Lady Justice, Paige concluded that she had great enthusiasm for the foundation but little passion for asking for funding. “I realized I didn't like fundraising. I wanted a business that could sustain itself and fund the foundation." Paige and her husband were determined to find a business model that could meet those goals and provide value to the community, and Two22 fit the bill.
Building Connections: Customers & Charities
Over time Two22 added a Charity of the Month to keep patrons engaged, as foundation grants are only distributed annually. Each month Two22 sponsors a local nonprofit and involves customers through taproom events, financial support, or in-kind donations. Said Schuster, "It gives the bartenders something to talk about day-to-day. We want to put (charity) into the day-to-day culture of the brewery.” When selecting charities, Schuster considers the interests of the community. "We try to look at what our patrons are doing and what charities are important to them.”
Copper Kettle Brewing of Denver has a similar program called Pints for a Purpose. The brewery contributes $1 from each pint sold on Tuesdays to a designated charity. Said Jill Rea, “We’re trying to get those charities that are probably not getting as many donations. You don’t hear about them that often.” Copper Kettle hopes to meet two objectives: first, raising money when the charity promotes the event to supporters; second, helping the charity get their message out to the community. One particular favorite involved a golden retriever rescue event named Santa Paws where customers could bring their dogs for photos with Santa. “Anything with dogs is always fun for me,” concluded Jill.
Making it Personal
Copper Kettle’s community involvement also takes a more serious side. The brewery hosts A Night to Remember every July in memory of Alex Teves, a victim of the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. Immediately after the tragedy the brewery sprang into action, hosting a fundraiser onsite to help Alex’s family. Jill emphasized the personal connection between the brewery and Alex. “Alex was Brew Club member #28. We still have his mug up there and his picture in our Mug Club.” Over the years, the fundraiser became A Night to Remember, which brings together 30+ local breweries and beer-lovers for a celebration of Alex’s life along with excellent food and tasty brews. All money goes to the Alex Teves Foundation, which provides scholarships to Humanix Academy, where Alex taught.
Personal connections also inspire Amanda and Mike Bristol of Bristol Brewing in Colorado Springs, who created the Community Ales program that brews seasonal beers to support four local nonprofits. According to Amanda, these charities “may not be widely known in the community but they mean a lot to us.” One tangible example is Friends of Cheyenne Canon, for which Bristol brews Cheyenne Canon Ale. The Bristols live near the canyon and find it rewarding to see the updated visitor center and hike on several restored trails that their beer helped support.
Bristol’s support for Ventucci Farms created a particularly meaningful connection, too. For decades, the farm has been a Colorado Springs institution that encourages school field trips where children take a Halloween pumpkin home for free, as long as they can carry it. Support from Bristol’s Ventucci Pumpkin Ale helps keep this program and other farm educational efforts going. Amanda recalled, “I’ve had people come up to me in the grocery store and say ‘when I was a kid I went and got a free pumpkin. I’m so glad you’re supporting them’.” Amanda added that these people now take their own children. “To me that made everything worthwhile that someone I don’t even know took the time to say something.”
Beyond monetary support for charities, all the breweries expressed a deep-seated desire to make a difference locally in their own communities, in ways that are meaningful to them and their patrons. Said Amanda Bristol, “Giving back is part of our DNA. It was in our business plan that we really wanted to support the community and be good citizens.” She added, “When you own a business there has to be more to it than just making money.” This concept gains momentum when patrons choose a brewery because of its philanthropy, then spend money, which increases what the brewery can give. Said Lady Justice’s Betsy Lay, “Denver’s a place where people like to drink beer and it’s a place where they like to stay connected to the community and give back.” Added Kate Power, “I think that people like the idea of drinking and helping at the same time. The combination itself seems to create some energy.” Seth Kent, a Lady Justice subscriber, supported Kate. “It’s a brewery that’s thinking about good beer but more than just good beer – about how our actions affect our community around us and that’s important for me personally.”
Many brewers believe that their businesses form an integral part of the community, beyond philanthropy, where patrons form bonds with each other. According to Two22’s Schuster, "Historically breweries have been the cornerstone of the neighborhood. With the changes in the industry and distribution, there isn't as much of that neighborhood feeling. I think it's something that brings people together in the community." Amanda Bristol echoed that sentiment, explaining that today’s breweries serve a similar purpose to village pubs of a bygone era, saying “You meet people who are of a like mind.” Bristol says a number of her customers “met at the brewery or became friends through the connection.”
Bonding Over Beer
That level of community connection was clear at Two22’s taproom shortly before Christmas, when over 30 patrons busily assembled bags of food and books for children from the neighborhood elementary school to take home over the holiday break when school lunches aren’t available. Between filling bags, patrons Nate and Lauren McBeth explained that they have met many great people at the taproom events when charities visit the brewery. Lauren reflected, "It's kind of awesome to come someplace where you can have a beer and know you're helping a charity," while Nate added that he enjoyed “drinking for a good cause." Bristol similarly engages their community every fall when customers and staff volunteers go to Ventucci Farms to pick pumpkins and then gut, roast, and chop them for inclusion in the pumpkin ale. For Amanda, this brings things full circle. The brewery uses the pumpkins in beer and the beer helps raise money for the farm, which grows more pumpkins next season.
Alex Teves’s brew club mug at Copper Kettle Brewing. Copper Kettle now hosts a Night to Remember to raise funds for the Alex Teves foundation.
For beer-drinkers wanting to support good work, and maybe even make some new friends in the community, there are clearly lots of ways to make a difference. It can be as simple as picking up a Bristol seasonal brew, visiting Lady Justice Brewing’s website to become a subscriber, or stopping by a Two22 or Copper Kettle taproom event. Other breweries giving back include Jagged Mountain in Denver, which hosts taproom events for nonprofits, Lone Tree Brewing in Lone Tree, Colorado, which donates a percentage of tasting room sales to a selected charity each month, and Denver-based Great Divide, which donates the proceeds from each flight through their Community Outreach Program.
Never Prim Always Proper.
The addition of the Proper Brewing bottleshop has allowed them to expand the varieties available.
The path to success in many job markets is fairly predictable: education, internship, part-time job, full-time job. Then, after a certain amount of time, dedicated workers ascend through the employee ranks and are rewarded with higher- level positions. Mix in hard work and passion and the American dream is all but achieved.
Rio Connelly hoped for a similarly smooth route in the craft brewing field, but it ended up being much less direct. Though he now serves as head brewer of both Avenues Proper Restaurant & Publick House and Proper Brewing Company in Salt Lake City, his ascendancy in the industry was anything but proper.
Born and raised in Salt Lake City during a time when the local brewery scene was present but fledgling, he chose to attend college in the Pacific Northwest where his eyes were opened to a world of craft beer like he had never seen. With his brother, Liam, he began homebrewing and dreaming of a career as a brewer.
After college, Connelly returned to Utah and began working in a state-run liquor store—where he spent most of his paycheck on beer— before being hired at the Beer Nut homebrew supply store. After a year of learning all he could about ingredients, varieties, and the brewing process, he felt ready to pursue the next step. Connelly called nearly 100 breweries all over the country hoping for an unpaid internship or a part-time job at minimum wage. He was even willing to pay his own moving expenses just to get his foot in the door somewhere. Not a single job offer came.
Many of the brewers he spoke with suggested he try to find work with one of the local breweries, but in Utah there were only a handful of choices and none of them were hiring. Lamenting the situation to Dave Cole, a regular customer at the Beer Nut, Connelly learned that Cole was one of the owners of the new Epic Brewing Company that was scheduled to open just blocks away from the Beer Nut. After some enthusiastic begging and pleading, Connelly earned his chance, starting at Epic as a volunteer before working up to part-time and eventually full-time.
Being present for the opening of a brewery and working under the tutelage of Epic’s Kevin Crompton is what Connelly calls “the single most important opportunity I've ever had in my life.” Now, in charge of two brewing operations of his own, Connelly discusses the career he worked so hard to forge.
Proper Burger, next door to Proper Brewing, serves flagship and seasonal Proper beers alongside an imaginative menu.
BM: How are the brewing duties handled between Avenues Proper and Proper Brewing?
RC: I am the Head Brewer for both locations and I have an amazing team working with me to make it happen. Matt Sargent is my Head of Cellars and Jack Kern is my Head of Packaging. Functionally, we all do a bit of everything, including brewing, packaging, cellar work, and more. I'm incredibly lucky to have the talented, hard-working staff that I have. Without them, this project truly wouldn't have been possible.
BM: Even though Avenues Proper was around first, it seems like the main brewery is now at the second location, Proper Brewing. What is the capacity at each location?
RC: Our Main Street location [Proper Brewing] is more production-oriented, producing the vast majority of our beer. Before we opened Main Street, the Avenues location was operating at capacity, producing around 200 barrels a year. At the end of our first year in the new location, we will have produced around 1,500 barrels, but our capacity is closer to 2,500 barrels.
Avenues Proper & Publick House is a gastropub/brewpub for patrons of all ages.
BM: Besides the added brewing capacity, how has the addition of a second location changed what you decide to brew?
RC: The biggest change is that we can now brew high-point beer. The Avenues Proper location was too small to provide any space for bottling, and barely any space for kegging. Our new facility allows us to bottle both high- and low-point beer and keg our low-point offerings in large enough amounts to sell to bars and restaurants around town. So, brewing high-point beer is totally new to the company. By the end of our first full year, we will have released 15 to 16 high-point bottles, or more than one each month.
On top of that, with the burden of the majority of production shifting to the Main Street location, the Avenues brewery has become more experimental in its scope. We'll be releasing our first 100 percent Brettanomyces-fermented beer in early 2017, with more on the way, continuing to try new kettle-sour projects, and working with exotic and unusual ingredients, especially in things like our upcoming Farmers Market Series (draft only), starting in earnest this coming June.
BM: Which beers are available at which locations?
RC: Most, if not all of the beers brewed at the Avenues are exclusively available there. We have beers that we brew at Main Street and serve up there, like our year-round standards and our main seasonals, but most of the specials are available nowhere else. The Main Street location is a little looser. I usually just put a good beer anywhere I have a free tap. We have more ideas than taps right now!
BM: Besides the beer, both locations are well-known for their food. The menu at Avenues is eclectic and creative and the variety of ways to get a burger at Proper Burger Co. (on the same property as Proper Brewing) are practically endless. It seems that just as much care and attention is put into the food as there is into the beer. Was that always the plan?
RC: Yes, the original partnership between the three business partners (myself, my brother Liam Connelly, and our friend Andrew Tendick) was born out of a love of great food and beer together. In travelling, we had seen fantastic "gastropubs" in cities like Chicago, Portland, and Denver and thought that Salt Lake was really lacking in that department. We wanted the Avenues Proper to be Utah's first true gastropub and the quality of the food there to reflect the quality of the beer. We think we succeeded in that goal and when it came time to open the Main Street location, we wanted to bring that same attention and quality to something more casual. Being big fans of burgers and beer, Proper Burger seemed like the natural idea.
BM: Avenues Proper always features a number of guest taps from other Utah breweries. Why was it important for you to do that? Isn’t that bad business to highlight your competition?
RC: Because of some of the strange beer laws in Utah, there's always been some intense competition between brewers here. The Utah market was seen as a zero-sum game, and nobody wanted to help their rivals. I had travelled and seen brewing scenes in other cities and states, and it didn't feel like that there. I loved all the breweries making great beer here in Utah and wanted to promote a more friendly, collaborative, and cooperative attitude. On top of that, we wanted the Avenues Proper to be a true beer bar, not just focused on one brewery, but many. All the beer we've ever sold there has been manufactured exclusively by Utah brewers, and I think we've featured beers from every single brewery currently packaging product on either our rotating draft or bottle lists.
BM: What are the future plans for Proper Brewing?
RC: At Proper Brewing, we're committed to quality above all else. We designed our business model so that we could slowly expand without ever having to overcommit or sacrifice the integrity of our beer. With that goal in mind, we're happy to stay a relatively small local brewery. We have room for a few more tanks at our Main Street location which will take our capacity up to closer to 4,000 barrels year and we have a few other plans as well, such as beginning an oak-aging program, a souring program, and a crowler project. We're maintaining our self-distribution model in Utah and we're working with local retailer Harmon's Grocery to get our product out there. We should be in a few select stores by the end of December with an eye to expand that number as quickly as possible. We're also looking at some low-level distribution in Idaho. Needless to say, we have full plates and tons of work to do, but it's not work if you love it!
Read the full article at http://rmbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Never+Prim+Always+Proper./2708105/382665/article.html.