We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Olander and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, how does your business help the community?
Our focus has always been to produce high quality malting products, all while conserving agriculture land and building long-lasting relationships with our partners. Breweries and distilleries have a strong focus on the local economy and we advocate for those who support craft malt. This partnership helps drive awareness surrounding their brand, and engages their craft consumer. Our small family farm is feeding the craft beverage world, one sip at a time. Support those that support you in return — there’s no such thing as too much community involvement.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Todd and I are first-time small business owners by luck, really. In 2014, our Olander family was struggling to find a way to add value to our crops, and we desperately needed to find another source of revenue to survive. Agriculture in our region is scarce and exponentially depleting, and our mission was to save the family farm from development. With that idea… Colorado has a vibrant craft beverage scene, and we set forth on an adventure in craft malting. We always wanted to provide the best ingredients for our brewers and distillers and completely underestimated the value in connecting these producers to farmland, giving them access to local grains and local terroir. The craft malt industry is young, continually evolving, and we wanted to help spearhead the face of craft malt to ultimately reach the craft beverage consumer. I don’t think any small business owner knows exactly what’s in store for them – and we put our entire future on the line by investing in craft malting equipment. We leveraged our farm, immersed ourselves in the industry and community, and spared no expense. There is no option to fail, but there are ALWAYS challenges… some bigger than others. You name it, we encountered it. Hard work is never easy, and we’re continually evolving, becoming resilient, and adapting to change. We’re developing regenerative farming practices and focusing on soil health, but we won’t call it a success until we’ve saved family farms, one beer at a time.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Our go-to establishments always include a quick stop at either a brewery or distillery. We have some of the best craft beverages right here in our backyard! Start off with a couple days exploring our Northern Colorado mountains. Head to the Front Range for a day hike in Rocky Mountain National Park and imbibe on a celebratory cocktail – we suggest the Old Fashioned at Elkins Whiskey in Estes Park. On your way, pop into Abbott and Wallace Distilling in Longmont for a taste of their Rye Whiskey. Want more whiskey? Copper Sky is right around the corner. To fill your belly, grab a sandwich and watch some football at the Pumphouse. They have rotating specialty beers brewed with Root Shoot malts. While in Berthoud and Loveland, venture to City Star Brewing and sip on Time Machine IPA in their newly renovated back patio (with heaters and a tent to boot!). They pop bottles on Saturdays, too! The food trucks are always hopping at Verboten Brewery, and anything pairs well with their Pilsner (crafted with Root Shoot malts, of course). Spend a day driving the dirt roads, visit our farm, feed the cows, pick sweet corn, and take a ride in the combine. Not far from the malthouse, Fort Collins is hustling and bustling. Grab a seat at Gilded Goat Brewery and order the Nokhu IPA, a local favorite. Take a walk through Old Town and grab a burger or pizza at Coopersmiths, while listening to live music in Old Town Square. Drink a nightcap, just a few steps away at Old Elk Distillery. Want more of the Colorado mountain scene? Grand County is full of craft beverages and Root Shoot supporters. Fraser Valley Distilling has killer French fries that pair well with their Rye Whiskey. You can grab a beer at either Camber Brewing or Fraser Beer Co. right around the corner. Keep an eye out for events in the Summer – the Mural Festival is a can’t-miss! Our go-to local spot in Winter Park is Hideaway Park Brewery. Sip on their Humulus Experimental IPA’s or their Publik Skool Pilsner (and don’t forget to check out their sweet foeder!). Looking for a bit more adventure? Kremmling is a hop, skip and a jump away from Winter Park and it’s worth the drive to Blue Valley Spirits. The views of the cliffs are amazing and so is their Lily Gin. Come alone or bring your friends, there’s sure to be someone to bullshit over a pint with in Colorado.
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?
Wow, how to limit to just one? Here’s to my mom for teaching me resiliency, the Olander family for showing us how to take risks, our farm and malthouse teams for being problem solvers, and our hero craft beverage partners for always supporting us. Great things are never accomplished by one person, but by a team of hard-working people.
Emily Sierra Photography The Brewtography Project Traverse Image