Blood, Sweat & Beers: Aspen Tap

In Blog, Local Spotlights by Steph Janigo

Just ten years ago, Aspen Brew Co. started something. It started something with just two beers that they would run out of in only two weeks (lesson #1- never underestimate the amount locals can drink). Thousands of beers later and with three different locations (both past and present) under their belt, many more lessons have been learned but as it turns out… we ain’t seen nothing yet. And Brew Co.’s  latest something undoubtedly deserves a toast. The absolutely kick-ass new Aspen Tap location is in the center of downtown at the old home of Peaches. It makes us all warm and fuzzy inside to see a true local business clear all the hurdles demanded by Aspen’s real estate scene to land in a spot that is grade A.  Next time you’re sipping an Independence Pass IPA on their barstool, take a look at their neighbors; Lululemon, Dior, Gucci, Theory, and that’s just naming a few. Now Aspen’s own “OG” watering hole is right in the mix, just killing it, and they did it with there own hands (no multi-million dollar corporate backing). Pulling it all together was no easy feat, though. It took both new and old employees alike to literally build this thing from the ground up. Long nights and mad dashes were the name of the game to deliver a pub that holds true to what this community’s  all about.

As we sat down and discussed the evoloution of Aspen Brew Co. and the new location of Aspen Tap with Duncan Clauss (owner and manager), a reoccurring analogy arose equating building a company to that of running a marathon. Setting up a new shop in Aspen, as many of you can imagine, is quite a challenge no matter how entrenched that business might be within the community. It’s dope to see Aspen Tap’s transformation unfold right before our eyes, but it hasn’t come without what Duncan would probably describe as a little runner’s fataguie and resilience. There have been moments along the way where finish lines have mysteriously disappeared with no real warning. And you better bet that it’s a damn good thing Duncan has ran a couple of real endurance races in his day; for without that gumption to prevail to the end, we might have lost this cornerstone establishment miles ago. A giant sigh of relief was not had until the ink had dried on their new contract- which on any given day either signifies the finish line or the starting line.

What most people don’t really know about opening a business is that there is much, much more to it then opening the doors and starting to sell your product. Things must be built, paint must dry, permits must be had and at least 65 “fucks” must be dropped out of frustration. But when you have a group of people as committed as the Duncan’s crew, you’re going to get shit done. It’s because this group was willing to put in long nights touching things up. Its because they worked together running beer lines and setting up draft systems minutes before opening, that we have this fresh place to knock back those locally brewed cold ones. Our hats are off to Duncan and his team for making it happen.

One thing that we took away from the conversation about the struggles and the successes Aspen Tap and Aspen Brew Co. have faced is that the best is yet to come. As Duncan put it, “If this were a marathon, we are just at the 10k mark.” Like holy shit!? Can someone give this man a round of applause for his long-game vision. It’ s without a doubt that thinking like this is why Aspen Brew Co. is going to be a constant and welcome presence around these parts. “Things are only going to get bigger and better,” and “we haven’t run out of energy, yet,” are what Duncan told us as we began to part ways after our delightful chat.  And looking at the the unyielding track record this company has behind, it we have no reason to believe other wise. Cheers everybody.