Home brewers get local supply source
Couple hops at chance to turn life’s passion into profit possibilty
By Ellen Miller
Fifteen years ago, Daniel and Michele Collins lived for a time in Fruita, but moved to the Front Range for work.
They kept looking for a way to come back. When the recession hit and Collins lost his job in the construction industry, “we took it as an opportunity to finally open our own shop.”
On Groundhogs Day, Feb. 2, the Collinses opened the doors of Kettles Homebrew Supply at 233 E. Aspen Avenue to combine their passion for brewing beer at home with the necessity of making a living.
“Our main focus is selling the equipment and supplies that home brewers need,” he said. “We also can supply ingredients for wine, but the focus is on beer.”
Fruita appealed as a market because of increasing numbers of young adults in the community and growing opportunities for mountain biking in the area.
“We also are finding that more and more people want to do more things for themselves,” Collins said. “And beer and young people go together.’’
Michele handles the marketing and is “an awesome brewer’s assistant.”
Daniel has the brewing expertise, and will start to offer classes from time to time so anyone interested in making craft beer can learn to do so.
“Even if they don’t make it themselves, they can appreciate what goes into craft beers,” he said.
The couple have made beer at home for years. To take it to a serious level Collins applied to the American Brewers Guild master brewers course. After 18 months on the waiting list he was accepted into the program. Six months of distance-learning classes online were followed by a seven-week apprenticeship at a well-known brewery in Portland, Ore.
Then came a blizzard of paperwork for federal, state and city authorities for approval to brew beer commercially and open the business in downtown Fruita. They’re awaiting the final okay for a brewers’ license.
“Then you can call us a ‘nano-brewery,’” Collins said. “We have no intention of brewing large quantities. We won’t be a bar or a package store. We’ll sell pints of different brews so people can take it home and see if they like it. If they do, they’ll come back and get the ingredients they need to make it.”
The couple believes there is a growing understanding of craft beer as beer shops proliferate in Colorado.
“People understand they’re full-flavored. They pair well with various foods,” Collins said. “Good food and good beer is the recipe for good times.”
The couple is looking forward to downtown Fruita’s many festivals, concerts and farmers’ markets — and to the tourists spring and summer will bring.
“It was surprising to see so many tourists,” he said. “This is a bigger tourist town than I thought.”