On Monday, the boys at the Aspen Brewing Company unloaded two new fermenters to increase production capacity inside their Mill Street location.
Today, they celebrate one year of operation, and the additional equipment is just one indicator of the success they’ve seen since last March.
“Our motto has been slow and steady growth,” said Brad Veltman, the brewery’s co-founder. “Many times businesses will see success early on and spread themselves too thin.”
Growth for these guys hasn’t been on the tasting side (a battle they faced with Aspen City Council to determine how much beer could be served outside of the downtown core), but in distribution. They now have 11 accounts at restaurants and bars throughout Aspen and Snowmass, with an exclusive contract at the Highlands Pizza Co.
Veltman, and his partner Duncan Clauss, attended the University of Colorado at Boulder together. There, they graduated from Keystone Light to craft beers, and figured they could make a go of it with their own brewery. After leasing their current space in September 2007, it took some remodeling and finagling with City Council before they opened the Aspen Brewing Co. doors on St. Patrick’s Day in 2008.
Because the microbrewery is located outside of the city’s core, and in a section of town zoned service/commercial/industrial, city officials originally put a one-beer-per-person limit in place. After a community uproar, it was changed to six 6-ounce tasting glasses, or a combination of pints that equal the same amount.
“Our initial struggle was increasing the consumption limit,” said Veltman. “And then we ironed out production woes. ... We used to have problems every week, and now we rarely do.”
The two fermenters they moved in on Monday will allow the brewery to pump out 50 more kegs a month, on top of the 20 to 30 a week its operators are already selling. The brewery now has seven fermenters. When it opened, it only had three.
“Maybe by next year we’ll have 10,” said Veltman.
He mentioned that they, along with partner Rory Dothitt and brew master Terry Butler, were looking to expand their business within the building by possibly moving into already vacated space.
With crafts like the Independence Pass IPA and Smuggler Wheat Ale, the local brewers have taken the Aspen name on the road, hitting up Colorado beer festivals throughout the summer months.
“We’ve gone back to some of the smaller breweries we used to hang out at in Boulder,” he said. “It’s a great feeling to go in and talk with them, and then know you’re a good company with a good reputation.”
And while their name has crept across the state, Veltman said they’re hoping kegs will eventually follow.