We’ve been asked lately why we decided to open a brewery and what it’s been like to go through this process. And because we are in the process of starting a brewery, our brows wrinkle and our eyes gloss over (We could all use a little sleep!). Well, here’s a little about it.
Why start a brewery?
We wish we could say something so unique that it knocks everyone’s socks off. But, 300 Suns Brewing was really just an idea brought up years ago, that kept surfacing every time a brewery was toured, a GABF was attended, a new craft beer was tasted, a bottle of homebrew was shared on the back deck in the cool summer evening air. It was just a dream and one day (gulp), we worked up the nerve to make it a reality. We wanted to put our time and our work into something that brought joy to others the way those moments brought joy to us. And we wanted to give our customers very meaningful ways that they could become part of the shaping of our brewery.
We had lots of ideas
Most of them sounded really awesome, especially when generated during a “tasting” session or a “research trip” to a local brewery. Many of them were discarded. Starting a brewery is a lot of work and it has taken a lot of editing on our part to put many of our ideas on the backburner because of time or money. That’s harder than it sounds. But, we hope it means we have lots of ideas to keep everything fresh in the coming years!
There are moments when you wonder if it is all going to go up in flames, or down in water.
A few days after we leased our space, the flood came. We nervously visited the building, watching 1st Avenue become an actual river and the water creep up the sides of the building, never making it in. Many were less fortunate, and the flood only delayed us a bit. We felt very lucky – so lucky that we named our pale ale after the temporary river.
Starting any business and dealing with plumbing, electric, licensing, permitting, etc. means that something can go wrong at every turn. And it seemed as some points that nothing was going to go smoothly, and we were never going to get around to the fun part…brewing and serving beer! We invested a lot in infrastructure that the customer will never see. BUT, our toilets flush, so that’s a really good thing.
One of our first deliveries of malt on a pallet rolled down the truck, through our garage door and into the tasting room, gaining speed at an ungodly rate. It nearly crashed through the glass-windowed wall but was stopped just a few inches to spare. I saw the life of the brewery flash before my eyes…then I immediately went over to smell the malt. It was calming.
Beer is a baby
So, we love our beer. It took months and months to hone the recipes, weekend after weekend of homebrewing double batches. And it was amazing when we created beers that we loved. But it’s one thing loving your own beer, it’s another pleasing the palates of customers.
The first time you serve your beer it’s like showing your newborn to a stranger and wondering if they think the baby is as cute as you do. We had a few opportunities before we started the build out phase to serve our test batches of beer to complete strangers. We had a private tasting and we got to serve at Longmont’s Oktoberfest. There is nothing more exhilarating and also as nerve-wracking as watching the reaction as each person took a sip. (Please love our baby, please love our baby.) But, man, was it addictive! It is life-affirming to create, serve and enjoy craft beer. The night of Oktoberfest, we all fell asleep with smiles on our faces knowing this was, well, right.
Everything is perfectly not perfect
It is really, really hard to put a lot of sweat, blood (literally, don’t look too close) and tears into constructing a brewery and making craft beer, only for it not to be perfection. We envisioned our first beers to be breathtaking, our penny countertop to be glass smooth, our woodwork to be flawless. They aren’t.
But what they are is something much better. The imperfections mean nearly everything in the brewery and certainly all the beer served here is hand crafted with passion. It means we learned something along the way. And it means we made some unexpected mistakes that turned out to be blessings. Building the brewery and crafting these first beers has taught us that owning a brewery is going to be a journey. One which will be fun and challenging. And the results, we hope, will be much better than perfection. The results will be interesting, sometimes flawed and always from the heart. And as for the journey, we really hope you will enjoy coming along on it with us.