We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashleigh Carter and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashleigh, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
In the food/beverage world there are a lot of people that believe you can’t just make what you want to; you have to make what the customers want even if you don’t like it. There is this idea out there that you have to please a large swath of customers in order to be successful. In my industry (brewing beer) there is the convention out there that you ‘have to’ have an IPA, over 15 styles on draft, and a constantly rotating list to keep customers engaged. I make one style of beer (Lager) and never have more than 5/6 beers on tap at any one time. This notion that you have to please everyone makes for a bland and uninspired business; one that you have likely come across a hundred times in dozens of different places. I believe that when you are constantly letting the customers dictate your business it actually dilutes what you do, and in this dilution you eventually aren’t you anymore and that can lead to you resenting your customer for what they like (especially if it isn’t something that you believe in). When you fail to tell people no, or offend people by not giving into their every whim you also never inspire anyone. I never want to look out into my tap room while people are drinking my beer and be annoyed by it. I decided to own my own business so that I could work for myself and never feel like I ‘have to’ make or do something that doesn’t fit my ethos I much prefer to be an inch wide and a mile deep. People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it – a great piece of advice from Author and Motivational Speaker Simon Sinek. 

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Bierstadt Lagerhaus is a brewery in the RiNo district of Denver. We are a Lager only brewery that opened in 2016 (took us about 2 years to fully get open) focusing on traditional German lager styles and we have a full service kitchen. I have been a professional brewer since 2011 after getting my Bachelors Degree in Pure Mathematics and playing Division I soccer in college. Becoming a brewer just took a lot of studying and relentlessness. Once I was in the brewery I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life and as someone who doesn’t really like authority; I knew eventually I would have to work for myself. Opening this brewery is a dream come true; we did exactly what we wanted to do but that has not always been easy. After a bad couple of years working for another brewery, getting fired was the kick in the ass that my partner, Bill, and I needed to do it by ourselves and for ourselves. We knew that we were never going to have someone else dictate what we were going to make or do. From a previous bad business partnership we learned that we were never going to put ourselves in a position where we could be pushed out of our own business or were not primarily responsible for making decisions. After leaving our previous brewery in 2013 we took every last dollar we had ad went to Germany to find a brewhouse and put a down payment on it with literally no way to pay for the rest of it, no building, and no real leads. Luckily we found our other business partner, Chris Rippe and we were able to make our dream a reality by raising more money, finding a building and taking out an SBA loan. I still don’t imagine people think that we were very smart for doing what we did but here we are now, 7 years later, as an industry leader in the United States. We are making beer that we are incredibly proud and doing it the way we intended to from the start.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Breakfast: La Casita for tamales and eggs, Pho Duey or Pho Now down on Federal for Vietnamese, Stowaway for coffee and hand crafted breakfast, Rosenberg’s for the best bagel you have ever had and top it with house made lox, Tokyo Premium Bakery for savory and sweet pastries and coffee. Lunch: Welton Street Cafe for fried chicken, Hops and Pie for beer and pizza (also amazing sandwiches and the only place to get a homemade crunch wrap supreme), Tacos Veloz don’t skip the Lengua, My Brother’s Bar for Burgers, Cheba Hut for sub sandwiches, BBQ at Owlbear (get the brisket) Dinner: Goed Zuur for beer and charcuterie (ramen on Sundays and the totally decadent butter flight), Yummy Hot Pot, Hop Alley (don’t skip the Szechuan fried chicken and the whole fried bass), Sushi at Sushi Sasa; I love the Pink Lady Roll and the Moriawase plate, Uncle for ramen, Tavernetta for fancy Italian, Snacks/Late Night/Happy Hour: Cart Driver Pizza after 10pm (also fresh bread and anchovies), Los Chingones Happy Hour Margaritas and Tacos, Brutal Poodle for Green Chili and cool dive bar vibe, 715 Club for cheap beers and pizza, Sobo 151 for Czech Beer and food as well as some cool Pool Tables. Drinks: Finn’s Manor for amazing cocktails and beer selection, Romero’s K9 Dog Park and Beer Bar; if you have a dog (even if you don’t the beer selection is excellent and they have a great grilled cheese food truck, Williams and Graham for fancy cocktails, Hangout: Red Rocks for sure, catch a concert if you can but even if you can’t it is worth hiking/checking out. Gerard’s Pool Hall, a sports game; most all venues are downtown so it’s pretty easy to catch a game. Breweries: My Place of course, Bierstadt Lagerhaus for Lager beer, Comrade Brewing, Cannonball Creek and Novel Strand for Hoppy Beer, Westbound and Down for everything, Hogshead for Traditional English Style Cask Ale, Our Mutual Friend for mixed fermentation, Little Machine, Call to Arms, Barrels and Bottles, and Goldspot for a well executed variety and neighborhood vibes.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family 100% – My Mom, Valerie Carter, and my Dad, Jim Carter are investors in Bierstadt Lagerhaus and they will drop anything to help out anywhere they can; from canning days, to tiling, to decorating, etc…. they have both been involved heavily from day one out and continue to be supportive in a million different ways. My sister, Emily Carter, is always willing to take on an odd job, update the website, or just watch my dogs. My best friend Abby George, a fellow business owner, has been there from the inception and is always there to support me in my successes and hardships. Then there is Bill Eye who is not only my husband but also one of my business partners. He is a large part of the reason that I am where I am today; we share everything together, good and bad, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life and business. Then I would be remiss not to mention my other business partner, Chris Rippe; he has been instrumental in pushing this business forward and a driving creative force – The 3 of us have gone without and worked an insane amount to put this concept together and make it successful. We couldn’t do it unless we were all in this 100%.

Website: bierstadtlager.com
Instagram: @reinheitsgeb_ash @bierstadtlager
Twitter: @bierstadtlager

Image Credits
Black and White Photo Credit: Dustin Hall Brewtography Project Beer Beauty Shots Photo Credit: Ashley Knotek

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