We had the good fortune of connecting with Zach Rabun and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zach, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Coming out of college, I got a job with Coors. For the most part, I was driving around a forklift and homebrewing for those years. I got an offer to become a manager and have a nice position at Coors. However, I knew that I wanted to be brewing and the type of brewing I wanted to do wasn’t an option at Coors. I left and got a brewing job at Elk Mountain Brewing in Parker, CO. Parker was a cowboy town and Elk Mountain was the only craft beer producer in the area. So, our main job was being an ambassador and educator to the craft beer scene. I became a much better technical brewer in my time at Elk Mountain but it still wasn’t the brewing I was truly passionate about. I left Elk Mountain and attended the Siebel Institute in Chicago to get a formal brewing education and really explore the possibility of opening my own brewery. More than anything, I wanted to open my own brewery to brew the types of beers I was passionate about. Using as much local ingredients as possible to infuse the terroir of Colorado into each beer, utilizing non traditional ingredients and brewing techniques, and experimenting with crazy flavor combinations is what Mockery is all about. While we do brew a mean traditional German Pilsner every now and then, our passion is pushing the limits on what beer can be and trying to impart a sense of time and place into each pint.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Mockery Brewing has been a slowly evolving business. Everything we do we want to do sustainably so we can be here in the long run. That means we haven’t been chasing the newest trends, trying to capitalize on the new style of the week/month/season. Instead, we are more interested in pursuing the same passions that got us started. Making the best, most interesting, and well made beers that are made with the highest quality, locally sourced ingredients. I can’t say this is the best business strategy as we have seen other breweries surge in popularity and distribution because they have seized on trends like hazy IPAs and hard seltzers. However, we are less prone to the declines of such trends too. We’ll keep making the beer that we want to drink and trying to innovate new, fun flavor profiles to highlight our specific time and place.
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.
That’s easy, drink our way through Denver. We are lucky enough to live in one of the truly great alcohol producing cities in the world. Denver hosts some of the most talented brewers and distillers and their products are sought worldwide. With well over a hundred breweries, cideries and distilleries the options are endless, but some of our favorites are Baere Brewing, OMF brewing, Trve brewery, Woods Boss, Tighe Bros distillery, Locke and Co. distillery, Stem ciders, AD Laws distillery and many more. Not only are the products offered by these companies world class but so are the people behind the bottles and bars.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t get to live out my dream job without the support of a small army of people. My wife Rachel, who is an equal owner in Mockery, gave me the green light to open a brewery and none of it would be possible without her support and informed input. Our team at Mockery is also a godsend. Woody our head brewer continually excels at taking and generating crazy ideas (think of cutting down a tree, hollowing out the log, packing it with juniper boughs, and running beer through it) and translating them into delicious beer. Ashley and the bartending staff exemplify passion, knowledge, and service and provide a great face to the company for anyone that gets to visit us in the taproom. We also pull inspiration from a multitude of sources for our beers. Everything from books on foraging (The Homebrewers Almanac by Josephson, Kleidon, and Tockstein and Foraging the Rocky Mountains by Morgan are our personal favorites), to cooking shows like Netflix’s Chef’s Table. Beer is food, so we work with a lot of local chefs to learn about flavor combinations and methods to impart the true flavor behind each ingredient.
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