We’re so glad to be able to say we opened last year. LAST YEAR! From the grand old age of 8 months, I’d like to say, “WAHOOOO!” It is such a relief to be through initial construction, the long uncertainty about the nuts and bolts of putting the system together and how it would work, and myriad other build-out, brewing, and pre-opening worries. We have enormous empathy for the brewers (and we know a few) who are currently in that planning and building, pre-opening stage. It’s not easy. If you guys need a beer, come on over. So while we have big question to address in 2015 and a lot more decisions to make, and we’ll be even happier when we’re 5 and can look back on being 8 months old with fond memories of (hopefully distant) growing pains, may I just say that for a brewery, life post-opening is far, far more fulfilling on a day-to-day basis than life pre-opening. Which is to say, though of course we tried to relish every moment, January 2015 is surely going to beat the heck out of January 2014.
As to growing pains, there are plenty. We’re still pretty hit-or-miss on anticipating how quickly something will run out (e.g., Vanilla Caramel Double Cream Ale, or XL zip-up hoodies), on when the taproom will need 3 of us behind the bar, and on getting reporting done for all hundred entities that could benefit from it while we’re focused just on those that demand it. We learn something new every single day. We make mistakes. If “real life” is any template, I’m sure the making mistakes part will continue indefinitely, though hopefully we won’t be repeating many.
For 2015, there are some giant question marks. We’re looking at how to get some of our beer a bit further afield. Is this the year to start bottling or canning? How can we structure some deliveries to y’all’s favorite bars and restaurants in Denver, if they’re willing to give us a try, so that you Denverites who have been so good about supporting us in the taproom can try some of our new beers without the drive? How can we compost hop cones and paper towels economically? Who invented liquid soap and why? [Well, okay, that last was a question from The Sure Thing, not from us. But still. A lot of questions to address in 2015.] And then, of course, the fun questions of what beers to brew and when, and the most important one: how to ensure we maintain the awesome tastiness.
On this January 1 though, we’re trying to temporarily ignore all those queries and take a moment to be glad just to be a part of this community, to be meeting some pretty amazing and interesting folks in the taproom and in the trade, and to be grateful we have freshtastycraft beer in our lives. We hope you guys are having the opportunity to do the same.