We had the good fortune of connecting with Scott Cline and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Scott, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My wife and I were living in Crested Butte at the time. I was brewing beer at home and she really supported what I was doing. After talking about opening a brewery for a few months, she told me, “Let’s do it!” Soon after, my wife got an opportunity to launch a pediatric OT program at our local hospital, so we moved down valley to Gunnison. About four weeks after moving to Gunnison, the former brewery that was here shut its doors. It was like the universe told me that this was my opportunity, so I took it. My wife is really the one to catalyze the effort. She is my rock.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve been brewing beer for 27 years. Brewing is amazing in that it brings science and art together. I like to build a very traditional foundational beers and then add some artistic impression to that. Sometimes that means adding some fruit to the beer, or perhaps some cacao nibs. I also really like to age our beers on different barrels. We’ve been fortunate enough to have friends who owned a winery in Napa. They actually provided us with some very high end Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah and Old Vine Zinfandel barrels. I’ve also been working with Deerhammer Distillery for the past five years. We have really great relationship where we exchange barrels back and forth. They will dump their American Single Malt Whiskey barrels and I age The Matron Imperial Stout on those barrels for twelve months. Once I’ve dumped the beer from those barrels, I meet the guys from the distillery on top of Monarch Pass and give those fresh dumped Matron barrels back to them. They then refill the barrels with whiskey and that becomes a once stouted whiskey. It’s a great collaboration product. We have done a few other collaborations with some really great breweries. Our latest collaboration beer was with Oskar Blues. We produced a barrel aged Imperial Stout called, Double Sweater and Silk Pajamas. It was an honor to work with Oskar Blues. They are really great people! Tim Matthews and Juice Drapeau have become good friends over the years. I am so fortunate to be able to put our label alongside theirs on a truly special beer.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely take them all over the valley. If it’s winter, I would take them skiing at CBMR. If summertime, then we’d go mountain biking out at Hartman Rocks. We’d probably order some Thai food from Patcharee’s Kitchen. We would have happy hour on my back patio and go fly fishing on some of our private water.
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?
Again, I owe this all to my wife, Stacey. She has been instrumental to our success. It wasn’t an easy first year. She started a new chapter in her career, we bought a new house, we bought the brewery building, and we were expecting our daughter. It was a lot to take on and she took it all in stride. I had a couple of business partners to begin with. We were all equally vested and operating the company together. One in particular, JB, worked his tail off to help see the success of where we are today. He really hit home runs every day. I also have a lot of respect for all of the other industry people who have helped me through the years. Tom Hennessy is one of those people. He has authored a few books about brewery start ups. I read “The Brewery Operations Manual”. I was also fortunate enough to be able to have a couple of meetings with him in person. He really helped me confirm my pro forma and budgets were in line with what I wanted to do.
Photos by Tracy Schwartz