We had the good fortune of connecting with Whitney Way and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Whitney, how do you think about risk?
I haven’t gotten to this point in my life without taking risks. Smart, calculated risk taking is integral to growth and decision making. Amid the pandemic this year my partner and I made quick, pivotal decisions. We promised our staff continued employment without guaranteed income and later in spring we purchased a canning line, our most expensive piece of equipment purchased to date. Looking back some risks we took were probably more foolish, but good intuition and luck prevailed. For example, diving all in to open City Star Brewing in 2011 without a business plan or understanding of the demands of the local community was probably a foolish risk. Fortunately we took that risk and Berthoud proved thirsty.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
City Star is a taproom centric brewery with a focus on community and producing quality craft beer. We have become a keystone business in our downtown. The community believes us; they believe in what we’ve created and our messaging. Subsequently they’ve really shown up in strong support throughout 2020. Almost 9 years since opening our doors, we’ve gotten where we are by embracing organic growth, sticking to our principles, and doing what we love. Breweries are really passion pursuits, not money-making ventures (though there are notable exceptions). It is not easy to operate a brewery, balancing business finances and navigating the nuances of the industry. Many challenges along the way I’ve overcome by learning to be a better partner – in marriage and business. John Way and I opened City Star Brewing together in 2012 (before we were even married). Our most difficult times have been during big construction projects, in times of being overworked while understaffed, balancing having young children, and of course 2020 has thrown challenge after challenge our way. Relying on one another and working as a team in crisis has gotten John and I through. Being introspective, reviewing the data and facts, and boldly making hard decisions has been integral in times of struggle.
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.
Berthoud is a big, small town full of character and quirks. A tour of the town would have to include insider information on Berthoud, including the fixtures of the area. Headed to Berthoud from I-25, notice the 12-foot-tall silhouette of a camel who has stood near the Berthoud exit for 20 years (Bert is his name). Before entering downtown Berthoud pass Chewy the dinosaur, often dressed in the spirit of any upcoming holiday. Downtown Berthoud undoubtedly requires a stop at City Star Brewing. Retail shopping features Wishful Living, Simply Shabulous, The Rancher’s Wife and more. An afternoon at the Little Thompson Valley Pioneer Museum translates to a new appreciation for the area and all of the historic buildings throughout town. An entire day could be spent walking among old brick buildings, the iconic grain elevator, and through old neighborhoods. The Wildfire Arts Center of Berthoud hosts regular classes and events. Even if they aren’t open check out the mosaic dragon bench out front, affectionally named FireHeart. There is one copper penny hidden on him. Can you find it? Stop at Kofe House for a beverage, grab a fresh baked loaf of bread at Rise, enjoy a breakfast burrito at a different joint each day (share your favorite!), enjoy a Berthoud Pizza to-go, and be sure to pick up City Star beer brats at Hays Market if you are grilling. Larimer County’s Carter Lake and Pinewood Reservoir are great spots for fishing (Bennet’s Bait and Tackle in Berthoud is legit), camping, boating, and solo time on a SUP Board. Back in town you can enjoy some fresh air in Berthoud’s Fickel Park and a stroll through the hidden Hillsdale Park. The new TPC Colorado golf course is a must for golfers, and the beautiful club house boasts a fantastic restaurant…. plan on a sunset happy hour! Berthoud is the Garden Spot so be sure to take in and appreciate all the agricultural beauty in the area. In the spirit of beer, be sure to drive by the Root Shoot Malt House north of town and the Coors Grain Storage facility south of town (just admire both from the road please!). Did you grab your City Star cans to go?!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
So many have influenced who I am today: naturally my parents Dan and Rudi Taylor, my little sister and biggest advocate Emily Taylor, my partner in everything John Way, and Eric Adams who has taught me so much through martial arts and CrossFit.
all photos by Emily Sierra emilysierra.com