New brew being tapped in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

New brew being tapped in Aspen

Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times

ASPEN ” Aspen beer drinkers will get a welcome holiday present in December when a new brewery is set to open.

A trio of recent college grads and one master brewer are about to tap into a niche in the Aspen market by creating the area’s own local beer. The homemade brew will flow out of the Aspen Brewery, located 557 North Mill St.

Six to eight different original brews will be coming to a pint glass near you sometime in December, according to Duncan Clauss, co-owner of the Aspen Brewery.

Clauss, 22, and his business partners, Rory Douthit, 22 and Brad Veltman, 23, recently signed a three-year lease in the 2,000-square-foot space.

The young entrepreneurs believe their secret to success will be found in Jason Courtney, a 38-year-old master brewer who has been recognized as one of the best micro-brew makers in the country.

They all recently moved to Aspen to turn their beer dream into a reality.

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“Making great beer is our first goal,” Douthit said. “Being a local brewery is the top priority.”

Aspen Brewery will operate with a manufacturing/wholesale license, meaning it doesn’t follow state or city liquor laws, which forbids liquor sales at retail outlets on Sundays. The difference is that Aspen Brewery is manufacturing a product and selling it wholesale.

The license applies across the board, so whether a thirsty customer wants to sample beer at the brewery’s tasting room or take some home in a growler (a beer-to-go glass bottle), they can do it seven days a week.

Clauss has looked for advice from other brewers in Boulder and Southern California. He also talked to a micro brewer in Nantucket to better understand how to weather Aspen’s spring and fall offseasons, when the town empties and business drops dramatically.

But for local insight, the brewers have tapped longtime businessman and Flying Dog Beer founder George Stranahan for advice.

Their business plan calls for the majority of sales to come from distributing their brews in local restaurants, bars and liquor stores throughout the valley.

They also hope to capture the tourism market by making their brewery a place where local residents go.

“Ideally, it will be a locals’ hangout and people flock to where the locals are,” Clauss said.

Different beers will be offered during the seasons but six to eight varieties will be available year-round. The price point for a beer will average about $4 a pint, but some will be more expensive based on the quality of the brew.

“I’m trying to tell these guys to sell their beers at a premium price,” Courtney said, adding he was surprised that there was no local brew in Aspen but that void will soon be filled. “People are thirsty.”