While Fort Collins has established a reputation as the â€œNapa Valley of beersâ€ with some, others have recently given it a new nickname: the â€œBrew-muda Triangle.â€
The recent expansion of the Fort Collins Brewery, now complements New Belgium and Odellâ€™s as major forces in the local brewing world.
Jan Peters, co-owner and vice president of FCB, and her husband Tom, aka Major Tom, have co-owned the brewery since 2004 and created much of what people see there today. The brewery was just a year old when they bought it and will be celebrating its 6-year anniversary on Oct. 1.
â€œWe come from a business background,â€ Jan said. â€œWhen we came in, the master brewer was in place, what they needed was some direction from a business standpoint.â€
The Peters are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in a few months and have together operated six other businesses prior to operating the brewery. Jan said that before buying the brewery, she needed to work a second job on her own to â€œmaintain sanity.â€
But she also said that working with her husband has â€œworked out for us.â€
The brewery has a total of 15 employees, from the owners down to the bartenders in the tasting room.
â€œEverybody does a little bit of everything,â€ said Jessie Youngblood, an FCB employee. This was apparent when, during a tour, Major Tom could be seen underneath large brewing machinery adjusting some plumbing on his hands and knees.
â€œIf we come up with a recipe, we can make our own beer if we want to,â€ Youngblood said.
CSU students can get involved with the brewery by way of internships.
But Jan pointed out that the students they hire as interns have a real passion for brewing. Most of them have taken brewing classes at CSU before applying. Others take a class offered through FCB thatâ€™s open to everyone.
â€œThereâ€™s a lot of things for people to learn about craft beer yet, and a lot goes into it just besides people getting hammered,â€ Jan said.
FCB has worked closely with Grant Family Farms to raise awareness about food issues and the reasons to eat organic. The brewery is also dedicated to shopping locally by supporting programs like the 20/20 challenge and Be Local â€“â€“ a program that educates the public about enhancing the local economy. FCB also uses outlets like Facebook and its newsletter to encourage people to support issues concerning local sustainability.
In the future, Jan and Tom plan on converting a vacant space on the south side of the facilities into the future home of a restaurant associated with the brewery. The restaurant has open viewing of all of the laborers working on each batch of brew so people can watch the brewers at work as they eat and enjoy their Rocky Mountain IPAs.
FCB has also put an extra room in their new brewery where patrons can reserve to hold special events of their own.
Jan and Tom hope the restaurant and event room will add to the appeal of FCB, making it more alluring in a tourism industry filled with a myriad of local microbreweries and outdoor attractions.
But they still hope Fort Collinsâ€™ brew culture continues to feed off itself through innovations and friendly competition.
â€œThe beer business is all about building relationships,â€ Jan said. â€œEven with the competition, there needs to be a relationship to make it work.â€
Staff writer Chadwick Bowman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.