We’re due here in Colorado Springs for another brewery expansion, so we sent out a little questionnaire to some of the up-and-coming breweries in the area to help get a feel for what they’re all about! Thanks to Paul from Peaks N Pines, Steve from Triple S and Grant from Local Relic for their responses! We’ll hopefully have a follow up article with others that are soon to open as well!
What is your brewing experience? Why did you decide to open a brewery?
Triple S: I’ve been home brewing for 6 years, am a Nationally Certified BJCP judge, and a Cicerone Certified Beer Server training for the Certified Cicerone test the September. I just retired from 20 years in the Army, my favorite class in college was starting a small business. Always wanted to start one, have the time now, am passionate about beer and live in the state with the most permissive beer laws. All this pointed to starting a brewery.
What will help set your brewery apart from the rest? (theme, styles, food, etc.)
Triple S: Beer education will set me apart. My biggest pet peeve is going into a beer joint (especially in Colorado) and the staff only kind of knows about the beer, if at all. According to national market research, 10% of Colorado Sprrings regularly drinks craft beer. The other 90% are simply not informed- I plan to change that through well trained staff, beer pairing, and beer tasting dinners.
I also have another hook- I’m going to deliver the beer I make. Regular scheduled, like the milkman, and on demand like the pizza man. This will be a first in the industry.
What aspects went into picking your location?
Triple S: So at first I did a demographic study and was aiming to serve an underserved market. Unfortunately those areas all have very expensive real estate. This location popped up downtown, the rent was great, location was great, and landlord was awesome, so I shifted camps to the “rising tide floats all ships” camp. There’s a reason that all the fast food restaurants are all right next to each other. Selection.
What single piece of advice were you given that has already come true?
Triple S: HA! It will take three times the time and twice the money. Or reverse that depending on what day it is.
On another note, we always heard that the relationship among brewers in Colorado Springs is more like a brotherhood. We’ve talked with many other established brewers and all of them have been terrific, offering advice, encouragement, assistance, and have no problems answering questions to help you get off on the right foot. So that advice is spot on – we’re excited about being part of that culture.
Tell us a little about your name. Why did you decide on that name for your brewery?
Triple S: So I went down two roads for the name: traditional American brewery (XYZ Brewing co) and English (House of Trembling Madness, Worlds End, The White Stag, etc). I even made a trip to England for pub research. I picked the American name pretty quick- Triple S Brewing. Unfortunately, even with ample research, no suitable English style name came to me. The whole process of starting a business starts with the name, so I had a deadline and had to choose. Triple S it became. Triple S originally stood for Steve & Sarah Stowell, but my graphic designer suggested Sip, Savor & Stay as the tag line. It fits with what I am creating, so we went with it.
How has the process from an idea to opening gone? Any fun stories to share?
Triple S: I started in January of 2014 by writing the business plan and doing the financials, in order to make a go/ no go decision. I was still in the Army at the time, and it took a month of weekends/ evenings. The numbers I projected looked attainable, so I kept going down the road. You can read about my process in the article I wrote for the July/ Aug issue of Zymurgy.
Briefly, I utilized a lot of the awesome Small Business Administration resources we have here: Senior Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), Small Business Development Center (SBDC), COS New tech, COS Tech incubator. My business degree was 20 years old, and those helped me refresh.
Next was finding money & location. This is tough to do concurrently, because you kind of have to have a lease amount to lock in the loan. And you can’t get a lease without money. AND, you have to have a location before you can submit for your federal license. So you have to take this big step before you know if you will even get a license! And it takes months to get all the licenses, and you technically can’t brew until your final building inspection, so you have to front all this money for a LONG TIME.
Once I got the location, I really enjoyed designing the space. I like big picture, strategic thinking. Whats more fun is seeing it go from paper to reality! It’s not fully there, but it’s close now! Funny story. Be VERY sure where you cut the holes in your roof. in my haste to get the kettle plumbed, I marked the holes in the ceiling. Literally as I watched the chunks of my landlords roof fall to the brewery floor ad sunlight stream in, I turned around, looked at the kettle, looked at the roof, looked at the kettle. $%#&! I marked where the burner attaches to the kettle, which is exactly opposite where the exhaust comes out. Hole in the wrong place.
Do you have an opening date set? (exact day or even approximate…)
Triple S: Oh it most definitely will be near the end of September. GABF in the middle of the month completely threw things off.