We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelissa Hieber and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelissa, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
As soon as I started home brewing and getting into craft beer I was really enamored by the sense of community in the industry and the creativity in the variety of beers that could be made. Both of these components inspired me to own my own business. I wasn’t the original owner of Goldspot, but I was around from almost the start and was able to create a new beer every week and be really creative on the brewing side and I really focused on beer education for my customers and prioritized community building and charity brews to try to create a space that was doing more than just creating delicious brews. When Goldspot became available for sale it was a no brainer for me to be part owner and take these ideas to the next level.
What should our readers know about your business?
Goldspot Brewing is a small brewery in North Denver that has been open for almost six years. I have been the brewer for over 4.5 years and co owner for over two. We love focusing on creativity and balanced beer, we release a new beer every week and focus on a diverse tap list and have really stepped up our lager and barrel aged beer game. Those are my two favorite styles to brew, because they both require patience, balance and a good pallet but produce far different end results. We get some really unique barrels as well such as the Port bourbon barrel and Honey Bourbon barrels from Laws Whiskey House. Throughout the years we have had a near constant rotating charity beer ranging from issues of the environment, LGBT, racial justice and empowering women. Covid has hit our business hard so we have had to pause these efforts for now but plan to have this element of our business be even stronger on the other side of all this. Being a small brewery owner has been tough for years even before this pandemic. It is an expensive business to run there is a lot of competition, rising labor costs and rent has also been tough over the years. The things we have focused on that helps us to succeed is focusing on amazing service, beer education, creating a beer menu that can appeal to every drinker, high standards on beer production and community building. Things we never expected to have to do is can our beer or focus so much on to-go beer. This is hard for us, because we do not make a lot of beer at a time so we don’t make as much profits on these endeavors as a larger brewery, but we are doing everything we can to roll with the punches. Something that we have learned is that you have to create a space and experience that means something to your customers. Making great beer hasn’t been the thing that makes a craft brewery successful for a long time, because there are so many amazing breweries producing quality beer. Taking the time to educate our customers and focusing on really quality service has been something we always focused on. To succeed in this tough markets takes succeeding at all components of the business and it can be overwhelming at times but if quality, service and community are always at the forefront working together than you can weather even the toughest storm.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow that is a tough one. There are so many amazing places to visit in Colorado. My favorite trips with friends are snowboarding trips as that is my favorite thing to do in the world. First we would grab some drinks at my brewery and then brewery hop around town hitting Call to Arms, Bierstadt, Jagged Mountain, Baere and as many of my favorites as we would have time to do. We would eat Pepper Asian bistro for dinner. Then we would hit my favorite mountain in Colorado Steamboat Springs. We would stop at Angry James on the way to get some slope beers, we recently did a collaboration with them and cannot speak highly enough about them. Then we would head up to Steamboat and go straight to the Christmas tree area I could live in that tree section forever. We would grab lunch at T bar and hit Storm Peak Brewing at night.
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?
There are so many people that I could list. I moved here from Cincinnati in hopes that I could break into the industry here. Soon after I moved the Regis Craft Brewing program was formed, this allowed me to get a professional internship that eventually led to a professional job. When I became head brewer at Goldspot I really hadn’t been brewing professionally for long so I had some industry friends who helped me along the way with taste tests, recipe development and everything else. Some of these friends would try ever new beer I made and give honest and helpful critiques and helped me to develop into a quality brewer. Mitch Leavelle head brewer at Barrels and Bottles, Bess Dougherty former head brewer of Grateful Gnome and former barrel troll of Wynkoop and Ashleigh Carter the head brewer/ owner of Bierstadt. The beauty of this industry is you can always learn from the wonderful people around you and that is something I strive to continue all the time.
Southern Beer Girl for the Jagged Collab photo