Thank you and goodbye!

We’ve certainly learned a great deal about the food and beverage industry during our time contributing to this blog. Each of our group members approached the subject matter with a distinct perspective that added to the blog in a unique way. Although we have enjoyed our experience with the blog, we have chosen to end our journey here. We will not continue to make blog posts in the future, though we do appreciate all of your support over the past few months. Thank you for everything, we have certainly enjoyed ourselves and learned from this project.

Spencer Donnelly

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Final Post

My first post looked at the social side of the boulder food industry. Community Food Share donates millions of dollars in addition to thousands of pounds of food during its corporate challenge. The local food bank not only gives back to the community but also works on creating a strong relationship between other companies based in Boulder. This post helped to develop the other side of the food industry in Boulder. With a huge focus on being sustainable consumers forget that these companies also help support the community. After looking into all that Community Food share does I realized that there are many people suffering from poverty right here in Boulder County.  The $12.5 million in food that Community Food Share donates goes to help the 59,000 people in Boulder and Broomfield County that are living below the poverty line.

The second post I made continued to look behind the scenes of the Boulder food industry. Silk, soymilk is based in Broomfield and has recently switched from natural and organic soybeans to conventional ones. One of the main focus points of many Boulder businesses is doing the right thing. After experiencing a lot of backlash from dedicated consumers, Silk began to take all the necessary steps to rebuild confidence in their brand once again. This post demonstrates the social responsibility that Boulder companies must have as well as how dedicated they are to building a strong relationship with consumers.

In week three I posted about the strong venture capital investment environment that Boulder has cultivated. Many large and successful corporations have come out of Boulder and this has attracted investors from all across the nation. With the help of these funds more businesses are erupting and seeing success.

My final post focused on one of the successful Boulder food companies that was able to grow with help from these investors. The most remarkable thing about Justin’s Nut Butter is that as they are expanding throughout the United States, they are still focused on doing the right thing. Justin’s still makes the products in small batches only using natural and premium ingredients. I think this company embodies the spirit of Boulder business. They are focused on sustainability and making new improvements every year to reduce their carbon footprint. They are focused on doing the right thing as shown through the numerous hours and funds put into several different charities. Justin’s is the perfect company to end my blog posts with because it truly encompasses all aspects of the being a business in Boulder

Expansion of Boulder’s Upslope Brewing Company

Boulder seems to be a hotspot for breweries, and the expansion of new breweries is by no means slowing down. Upslope, a local Boulder brewery, serves as a great example of how breweries in Boulder are continuing to grow. This local brewery had just opened their first brewhouse in north Boulder during the winter of 2008. In a short period, Colorado’s high demand for Upslope’s canned craft beers required for their production to expand. This just goes to show that dedication and a great tasting beer can propel breweries to success in Boulder, Colorado.

Only two years after Upslope’s opening, they decided that they needed to expand their brewhouse. Upslope brewery expanded into the warehouse space nearby their existing brewhouse in order to double their space to 4,400 square feet. With this expansion, this local brewery was able to increase production to 5,600 barrels of beer from its 7-barrel brewhouse at the end of last year. Yet again, they recently hit capacity for production and Matt Cutter, an Upslope co-founder, said, “A year ago last August, we’re sitting at Lee Hill and realized that the existing space was not going to be adequate for our future plans”.

In order to solve Upslope’s fortunate dilemma, they decided to open a second brewery, which just opened last week. This new brewery is a 17,000 square-foot facility with a 30-barrel brewhouse in east Boulder. Upslope’s east Boulder brewery is currently capable of producing 12,000 barrels, which is roughly 165,000 cases of beer a year. This expansion depicts the hard work they put in, and serves as an example of the local effects from the craft beer industry’s boom.

Not only are new breweries being established, but already established brewers are also expanding their operations or opening new breweries. “Some are definitely taking advantage of the opportunity to grow right now,” said Steve Kurowski, marketing manager for the Colorado Brewers Guild. According to the Brewers Association, a Boulder-based trade association that represents small and independent breweries, craft beer brewery sales increased from $8.7 billion in 2011, to $10.2 billion in 2012. Upslope brewing company is definitely a business that is taking advantage of the opportunity to grow right now, and sets a standard for up and coming breweries.

For further information on Upslope Brewing Company go here.

For further information on Upslope’s expansion go here.

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Colorado and Beverages

The Colorado Business Review (CBR) is a quarterly publication of the Business Research Division at the Leeds School of Business.  Past issues of the CBR have looked at things as broad as the general Colorado economy to much more specific topics like water and irrigation.  In particular, the October 2012 issue examined the beverage industry in Colorado, and so this post will look at some of content of that issue.

In Boulder, we know associate Ball Corporation with Ball Aerospace, its division which designs and builds satellites, and the jars seen at local businesses like Cosmos pizza.  In an article written by  Jim Peterson, a Vice President at Ball Corporation, we learn about the other 90% of Ball’s revenue: manufacturing cans.  The cans they produce are used by beverage companies all over the world, but many of them are here in Colorado.  One of their largest customers is Coors, located in Golden, CO (also the site of a Ball facility).  Not all of Ball’s customers are large corporations, though; some of Ball’s other customers are smaller, local firms like New Belgium Brewing and Oskar Blues.

Another article, written by Doug Caskey of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, talks about the thriving wine industry present on the western slope.  Centered around Grand Junction in Mesa County, the industry is aided by the abundance of sunlight and the arid environment.  Although small, the industry is growing rapidly: a study from 2006 estimated its impact at $21 million, while a later study in 2009 suggested that impact had grown to $60 million.

Erin Humphries, a Senior Product Manager at Celestial Seasonings, writes about the changes taking place at Celestial Seasonings.  The firm, headquartered in Boulder, sells its products around the world.  While usually associated with tea, the article is quick to point out that Celestial Seasonings is diversifying into other beverage types, including wellness and energy drinks.  The firm is also putting a new spin on its classic Sleepytime tea line: “Sleepytime Snooz shots”.

To find other issues of the CBR and other publications from the Leeds School of Business, go here.

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ReciPower.com offers new approach to healthy eating

Currently in the alpha stage of development, ReciPower is an easier way to keep children eating healthy during the critical stages of their development. Specifically, the website is a tool that facilitates meal choices that focus on not only nutritious food choices, but also convenience. By entering basic information in a set number of fields, the system provides users with a healthy meal plan with certain food selections, as well as the approximate total cost.

The system is also flexible, as it also gives the user the ability to mix and match different meal choices. If the current meal selection is not to your liking, you can easily replace it with a brand new meal choice, with the grocery list changing automatically. The website essentially cuts out the organizational aspect of healthy eating that plagues so many attempting to change their eating habits. Counting calories, making lengthy lists, and planning nutritious choices ahead of time is inconvenient and tiresome.

I was given the privilege of having  test run of the alpha version and I was nothing short of impressed.  I input certain key information such as how much money I had to spend on a given day, the number of people I was planning to feed, and if I had any sort of special food considerations such as wanting gluten free products. I won’t reveal all of the questions asked in order to make the personalized meal plan, but upon the completion of this information, I was instantly given an array of diverse choices.

I was given the choice of a protein based meal such as garlic-basil halibut, a complex carbohydrate such as pasta with garden vegetables, and a more unique dish with quick quesadilla pockets. The pictures presented for each item are attractive, yet this is overshadowed by the convenience of the other features. With five meals recommended to me, I was given the option to swap them out for others, or keep them on my list.

This customization ability not only makes the system cater to certain tastes, but also a budget.If I’m committed to a budget on a certain week, I can choose to include cheaper options in my plan such as slow cooker wild rice soup. On the other hand, perhaps if it has been a lucrative week in your professional life, you can choose to add more expensive options such as the salmon potato scramble. When a particular choice is selected, it even displays the exact ingredients needed for preparation, and cooking instructions.

ReciPower is a convenient tool for selecting healthy meals at your convenience. By taking account of the money you have to spend, the time you have to prepare, and how frequently you shop, it’s a system that nearly anyone can get used to. And with the obesity and diabetes rates rising at the current rate in the United States, it’s tools like this that may be the future of healthy, yet convenient, eating.

Spencer Donnelly

Check out the site HERE

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Weekly Recap

This week’s blogs started off with a look at Justin’s nut butter. The local company focuses on premium product and keeping their business sustainable to align with the Boulder ideals. Although the company has expanded across the United States they still focus on keeping the batches small to ensure the integrity of the natural and organic ingredients.

On Wednesday we looked at start-up breweries in the Boulder area. Due to the large amount of micro breweries throughout Colorado there is legislation in place to help protect those smaller breweries from being upstaged by larger brands. In Boulder county alone there are over 40 microbreweries, including The Left Hand Brewing Co. based in Longmont. The microbrewery environment in Colorado is thriving with new flavor innovations being introduced every year.

On Thursday we analyzed the actual benefits of natural and organic food. Leading pediatrician’s claim that organic fruits and vegetables may not be as nutritious or safe for children as they seem. The pediatricians comment that although organic foods reduce exposure to pesticides, the conventional fruit and vegetable pesticides levels are within safety limits. The post describes the direct effects of this study as well as farther reaching negative effects this study could have on the organic industry in America.

 

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Craft Brewers in Colorado

Colorado is known for many things, including its sports teams, fantastic outdoor recreation, and others.  One of the lesser known facts is that craft brewers play a large role in the state economy.  In 2012, the Business Research Division at the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business conducted an economic impact study of craft brewers in the state of Colorado.  The daily camera has a summary of the study here.

Craft brewers in Colorado can be thought of as all the brewers besides Coors.  Coors is the elephant in the room, a giant in the industry (7th largest in the world).  Its facility in Golden is the largest single brewery in the world.  But despite the size of Coors, it is the smaller craft brewers that draw the attention of enthusiasts and economists alike.

According to the Business Research Division study, the first in Colorado dates back to 1859.  In 1975, the industry had been in a steady decline, and there was only one brewery in the state.  Thanks to legislation in the state which supports the industry, the number of establishments reached an all time high of 136 in 2011.

A slight majority of those establishments are brewpubs, or businesses which both produce beer and operate a restaurant.  The labor intensive nature of the craft brewing business (especially in conjunction with a restaurant) means that craft breweries employ a lot of Coloradans.  The industry employed an estimated 4,170 works in 2011, paying $102 million in wages.  Converted into an annual salary, that averages less than $25,000 per employee, which is well below the state average income.  Part of the reason for this is the part time nature of most restaurant/bar-tending jobs.

And the craft brewers in the state are locally oriented.  Less than a quarter of breweries export outside the state, with the rest catering to Colorado residents.  Some breweries are so in tune with the classic Colorado outdoor lifestyle that they offer ski passes to employees as a form of compensation.

In all, the industry had an economic impact of $450 million in 2011 and supported the employment of $5,800 residents.  Excise taxes were estimated at just over $1 million, and state/local taxes related to the businesses’ operations $40 million.

Coors might be the largest brewer in the state, but the smaller craft brewers shouldn’t be overlooked.