We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Marchio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I would say the most important factor behind the success of Knotted Root is not compromising our intentions about who we are, both in the traditional and experimental nature of our brewing process, the quality of our products, and above all, presenting them in a way that people can relate to while also pushing their conceptions what one can expect from a craft brewery.
We started off with a vision and although there have been areas where we’ve had to evolve and adapt, we’ve stayed adamantly true to our mission. This can be felt in our labels and our marketing approach. In some cases, we may do things that seem counterintuitive or even by accident, where pieces of a release will line up perfectly and serendipitously. The artwork, the flavors, the rustic feel of our taproom, our staff: everything has come together to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts. I am so thankful that people are picking up what we’re putting down in such a enthusiastic way.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Beer (when done right) is a mixture of art, science, alchemy, and execution. In order to keep what we do fresh, the “art” level comes in both the packaging, marketing, and recipe development. Understanding how compounds and processes work together to create something new and unique is not easy to achieve. Executing some of these factors to package and present them to the public takes harnessing the power of many moving parts and having them come together simultaneously. It’s also easy to lose the “art and passion” side of anything when you do it for money. I think we’ve managed to find a way to maintain this dedication to brewing as an art, as well as making it profitable in an enjoyable way for our team. Some days better than others…. but you can’t have the good without the bad and you must learn from your experiences in order to grow. Otherwise it becomes stagnant and not fun for anyone. And it’s just beer… so that’s helps us take ourselves just a little less seriously than most.
It was most certainly not easy. I was a little lucky in terms of overcoming certain challenges. Through licensing issues, scaling issues, distribution challenges, and discovering areas of the market I had no experience with, we had to learn these things as we went on. If we didn’t, I don’t think we would be nearly as successful as we are. I would say if we could bring all of the lessons down to a broad, single sentence… it’s stay true to what you set out to do and don’t lose sight of why you did this in the first place. These are major life decisions that impacts many folks along the way… own your decisions and execute them with humility.
I would want the world to know that we’re just a bunch of goofballs doing what we love and through that, we can still laugh at ourselves. As long as we’re having fun, hopefully that fun and energy can translate to the consumer with our products.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Nederland is a funky little mountain town. It’s not nearly as developed as most of the ski resort towns in our beautiful state. In some cases, it seems as if it’s in it’s own timezone up here. There are no billboards, nothing really corporate to speak of, which is by design. These strong, passionate mountain people who lived here resisted cell phone towers for upwards of 20 years. Like everything in life, certain changes are inevitable with technology growth and population density, we like to think we are a bridge of the old and the new here in town where we can bring a newer approach to beer, with the same rustic, local feel that drew us to this town in the first place.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, my family and close friends. They have always encouraged me to follow my passion and supported me in my brewing endeavors, which took me from home brewing in Vermont, to studying brewing science and fermentation in central Washington to the rural Anderson Valley in Mendocino California for my first paid brewing gig, and then to Colorado to help open and shape a number of breweries in Denver. During all of these phases, I grew in some aspects and gathered bits and pieces of what shaped the idea of Knotted Root and helped it come to fruition.
I’d also have to give credit to my days following around Bob Weir & Ratdog and Phish. With mapquest directions, no cell phones, Atlas’s, and the like, it was an incredibly fun and experimental time in my life. These were formable years that provided me with a certain amount of freedom that has seemingly become harder and harder to achieve as we’ve transitioned to a more digital age. These times taught me about risk taking, decision making, personal responsibility, all of that stuff. The music itself represents these things as well… collective improvisation, caring for one another, and living in the moment. These values represent a great portion of how we approach our business on a day to day basis.
Christopher Klein (Can Photo)