this week, for the small business series, i’m excited to introduce you to our mutual friend malt & brew, a brewery and tap room that’s located just down the block from crema coffee house. opened up by a group of guys that love beer a lot and love community even more, it’s a great space for the neighborhood folks and beer nerds to hang out, get to know each other, and continue coming back for beer, activities, and a revolving line-up of denver food trucks. caleb, the main commander of the tap handles, is a fabulous networker and will make sure you’ve made friends w at least the three people to the right and left of you. bryan, the brewmaster, is happy to show you around and chat w you about what the process is, what he’s working on, what’s in the pipeline. brandon, the online whiz of the whole production, will make sure you stay updated. he gets us in the know now by answering my questions…
1. what is OMF?
Our Mutual Friend is a small brewery in Denver. The main things that set us apart from a lot of other breweries is that a lot of our goals are based on a desire to do as much of the processes required in brewing ourselves, like roasting and toasting all the grains used in our beers and eventually bringing the entire malting process in-house. We also hope to eventually produce beer using all Colorado grown ingredients. We have already formed some great relationships with growers and definitely see a future where the dream is a reality. Aside from that, we have a great little taproom and patio in downtown Denver that is becoming a neighborhood meet-up spot. it’s definitely a place to socialize, work, or anything else you can think of that would be good with beer.
2. how did you get into this? what was your inspiration?
We all met at a couple different house parties and immediately hit it off on the subject of home brewing. From there we brewed beer together and when Bryan started to think about taking things to the next level, we all seemed to bring different strengths and experience to the table that allowed everything to look like it could really happen. The inspiration definitely came from working hard on each step of the process and having things fall into place. We didn’t really know what it would all look like (or taste like) but we knew it needed to be exactly the beer we wanted to drink and the place we wanted to drink it in.
3. what had the process been from conception to execution? (this can include opening/evolving the business to making your goods to both!).
The process has been about communication and reassessing where we are at based on the facts of the moment. Im sure any new business owner can attest that some of the details you may have had at the genesis of it all go right out the window, but they usually are replaced by something far more enjoyable or functional within the paradigm of what you’re doing. We knew we wanted to make really good beer. We knew we wanted to do as much of the grain to glass process ourselves. We knew we wanted the taproom to be far from normal industrial/warehouse type taprooms you see these days. Other than that we took it one day at a time and had a solid business plan.
4. has creating/developing/launching/
Building it was difficult in its own way, but the easy part is knowing there is a finish point. Maintaining the business has been an interesting adjustment in that you don’t quite get that this all needs to happen every day and hopefully forever. You have to deal with becoming more factory like than you thought it would be. You have to keep scheduling people to work. You have to keep working. It’s fun and tiring and challenging all at the same time.
5. are you doing this solo or do you have other partners/collaborators/helpers in the brand?
There are three of us that own the brewery and work alongside a few employees who are also good friends and invaluable to us. The brewing industry is great in that we are definitely aware of the subtle competition we all have in hopes of growing the market share and getting people into craft beer. Everyone has similar goals of making beer that people love, and within that there is definitely a lot of awesome inter-brewery collaboration that happens. We all share ideas and equipment and help each other solve problems. It’s a great industry to be in.
6. who, if anyone, has helped w branding/website development/maintenance?
Our friend, Justin Pervorse, in Atlanta, GA has been with us since day one creating our identity and logos as well as all the cool illustrations used for our beer label designs. We also work a lot with the screen printing shop next door (A Small Print Shop) who are a silly, creative bunch. Paul Michel does awesome illustrative work here and there, and I (Brandon) try to coordinate with everyone to bring all together into a cohesive message… That people should come hang out with us and drink our beer.
7. when did you open?
We opened at the beginning of December in 2012.
8. where can you be found?
We are located at 2810 Larimer st. in the RiNo neighborhood.
9. what new/other businesses are you excited about in denver? or would you like to see in denver?
We love all the awesome things happening in the neighborhood (Huckleberry Roasters, Crema, Infinite Monkey Theorem, The Populist, Black Shirt Brewing, River North Brewery, Ritual Chocolate, Moto Ocho, Amerigo, Epic Brewing, etc etc etc). We want to continue seeing more variety in businesses that serve the local community and make it better. The more the merrier.
10. what’s your favorite shop in denver? favorite place for food? neighborhood?
Hard to pick favorites. Come by the taproom and we can talk about it for hours.
(dj photo from facebook)
make sure you stop by for a pint and say hello to these fine gentlemen! there’s usually something going on in addition to the brewing and beer: mondays is yoga (led by my wonderful sister-in-law). wednesdays is our mutual running club (led by paul of mountain vs plains fame). thursdays is a dj series. and wednesday thru saturday there’s a different food truck parked outside. woohoo!