A few weeks back, we talked with three local breweries who were deep in the trenches on their way to opening their doors. Now, we’ve talked with two more breweries, 105W Brewing Company in Castle Rock and Whistle Pig Brewing here in Colorado Springs to get the lowdown for you all. Thanks to Kjell and Rob for your answers!
What is your brewing experience?
Whistle Pig: We have been frequenting breweries for for 27 years and have had some really great experiences across the country. We wanted to celebrate the diversity and enjoyment of our experiences by opening a brewery to share with others, but, we also have seen that many breweries had the same problems that impacted our experiences negatively. We want Whistle Pig Brewing (WPB) to not have those problems.
105W: Castle Rock Home Brew Supply owner Eric Seufert had originally back in early 2012 wanted to open a brewery in Castle Rock, but with no history of business it proved difficult to get the needed loans, etc. He opened the less expensive Local Home Brew Shop (LHBS) and it has become over the last two years very successful. So he returned to the idea of a brewery…With two solid years of proof, he received the approval from the city and gained the banks backing without issue. Eric approached several friends for interest in shares of 105W. Eric is the majority owner and 11 partners (including yours truly).
What will help set your brewery apart from the rest? (theme, styles, food, etc.)
105W: So why?…. Because Castle Rock needs a craft beer focused company with a tasting room. What will set us apart?… variety, 16 taps of color grouped beers. As home brewers at heart we wanted gold, brown, black etc.
When we want to brew we often think of the color first, then style. So four colors with a session-style brew in each category. There are three brewers Eric Seufert, George Delena, and myself (Kjell Wygant). We intend to train our taproom staff on brewing as well in the future.
Three brewers with style strengths means variety at the tap for the customers.
We will be Castle Rock’s first craft beer brewery…but hopefully not for long. The more the merrier to better increase the education and interest in Craft Beer in CR.
Whistle Pig: We are doing all that we can to reduce noise level so you can have a conversation with the people around you. Breweries are very much about community and being social; cut down the noise and improve the experience.
The brewery will handcraft its beers in small 2-4-barrel batches under the close personal attention of its brewers, Eric Merrell and Rob Beers, and will offer house beers such as Whistle Pig Oatmeal Stout, India Pale Ale, Juniper Ale, American Wheat, Porter, Brown Ale, and a selection of Hard Lemonade and cider beers. Additional seasonal and specialty brews will be on tap as well. With 10 years brewing experience (each) Eric primarily draws his inspirations from Irish and Scottish traditionals while Rob has been more influenced by American brewing Styles. We believe this combination will provide a broad selection year round.
Eric and I (Rob) have chosen a partner that gives WPB a unique menu and ability to offer truly great and original food during our hours of operations. This is such a big part of our story but we are working on how we want to unveil it. At this time, we can say that Whistle Pig Brewing Company is committed to providing a distinctive Colorado craft beer experience through unique and specialty food and brew options inspired by Colorado culture and history.
What aspects went into picking your location?
Whistle Pig: Finding a central location on a major commuter route was essential for us. We found that so often we, and our friends, had to drive (sometimes miles) out of the way, on their way home, to be able to stop and enjoy a good beer with friends. It seems like you spend all day at work going out of your way for others and it only made sense to us to have a convenient place to stop for a cold beer with friends and while you’re there enjoy some great food, or just stop by for the food. Either way you won’t be disappointed. A desire for a place like this is what gave birth to Whistle Pig Brewing Company.
105W: 105WBC is located in a commercial/public area of CR. Next to the Castle Rock Homebrew Supply store. So convenience and access to a plethora of ingredient choices via the store for future brewing experiments.
What single piece of advice were you given that has already come true?
Whistle Pig: The hard part won’t be the brewing, it will be everything you have to do before you are legal to brew.
105W: Hmmm…It takes a whole lot more work, involvement, and planning to pull this venture off. Don’t underestimate anything.
Tell us a little about your name. Why did you decide on that name for your brewery?
105W: 105West is the Longitude that runs the whole frontrange. This frees us from the bounds of this city in terms of growth. We chose a upright bear drinking a pint as our symbol for strength in a brand and because bears are cool.
Whistle Pig: We grew up backpacking and cycling in the mountains of Colorado, enjoying everything the Colorado life style has to offer. We came across these cute little guys almost every where we went and were amused by their chirps and whistles. Marmots or “whistle pigs” were our companions for many snack or lunch breaks while on our mountain excursions. They have a ton of personality and are really social and friendly. We want our place to be like that. Social, friendly, and a place where you meet some really great people while enjoying original Colorado inspired food and beers.
How has the process from an idea to opening gone? Any fun stories to share?
Whistle Pig: We originally had an idea that would have brought craft to draft in the comfort of your home however after nearly 8 months of research and writing business plans we found out that it is legally frowned upon to do what we had in mind. After lamenting over a couple of beers Eric says, let’s just open a brewery. I (Rob) said no, that’s not what we wanted to do. Eric Said, “No, let’s do it.” I looked at him and said “nooo-ok, but only if we can do it right.” Nearly two years later we are about to do it right. The biggest test had to be when after more than a month of negotiating for a lease, we finally reached terms with the landlord. Late Friday afternoon we received a proposed lease through our broker. The lease was garbage and we were so mad! It was like the negotiations and agreement were totally ignored! We sent it to our lawyer for review. Late Sunday evening we get another email from our Broker. The plaza our location is a part of had sold and our lease was now in limbo! Talk about being mad. In the end, we came to terms with the new landlord and our opening date moved from July to maybe November during the process. We did get a really great location and are excited to get started brewing beers and making great food!
105W: Our fun stories are to come… We are brewing on dual 55gallon Electric Blichmann systems. And have a multitude of fermentation vessels including three 3bbl fermenters. Several single batch size and half batch fermenters…So the “Fun” stories in short will come via blood sweat and tears!
The final question: Do you have an opening date set? (exact day or even approximate…)
Whistle Pig: Late November to mid December if the stars align. We think the alignment is setting up.
105W: October/November is the focus. But we will not open unless we have a seriously strong number of brews to tap. We will not Limp In!
We hope you all will check out both Whistle Pig Brewing and 105W when they open up this fall/winter. As usual, we’ll keep you posted as to when their respective Grand Openings are happening!