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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Boulder Breweries

Colorado proves to be one of the most productive states for smaller start-up brewery businesses due to their flexible laws. Colorado state laws allow brewers who produce less than 300,000 barrels a year to sell their product directly to liquor stores, and another law that prevents large retailers from having more than one store with a liquor license ensures that the small retailers aren’t put out of business. Laws such as these allow for local small business growth in Boulder.  Microbreweries in Boulder are plentiful and growing in numbers. Currently Boulder houses more than 40 microbreweries.

One of the more popular breweries includes The Left Hand Brewing Company located in Longmont. They are currently thriving and have been popular since 1994.  My personal favorite beer from The Left Hand includes the Nitro milk stout that has a rich, dark, and smooth taste. Another brewing company worth mentioning is The FATE Brewing Company, which is Boulder’s first craft brew-bistro. This brewery offers higher-end food alongside more than 30 rotating house brews.

Boulder’s Walnut Brewery, located right off of Pearl Street, is another popular brewpub. John Giuffo provides a critique on their Indian Peaks IPA, in which he says, “It was crisp, a little dry, hopped up but not obnoxious about it, and surprisingly smooth”. Another beer that John reviewed included their Buffalo Gold, a sweeter, lighter beer that was opaque, with honey, caramel, and lemons. Finally, their Emersum Oyster Stout was the last to be reviewed. This unique beer is a stout mixed with mashed up oysters that possesses a dark-espresso taste. These breweries are key examples of how Boulder proves to breed successful breweries.

For further readings on John Giuffo’s review go here.

To learn more about The Left Hand Brewing Company go here.

To learn more about The FATE Brewing Company go here.

To learn more about Boulder’s Walnut Brewery go here.

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Sushi Zanmai’s Keys to Success and Why You Should Eat There

Sushi Zanmai is a popular sushi restaurant in Boulder, Colorado and has been around for 28 years. By winning the Best of Boulder in both the Japanese and Sushi category, it has proven to be apart of the elite sushi restaurants in Boulder. One may wonder what has attributed to their success and why so many customers keep on returning. In order to find this out I had an interview with Younghye Kim, the resilient manager at Sushi Zanmai.

Younghye Kim has worked at Sushi Zanmai for quite sometime now. She started working as a busser, worked her way up to a server, and for the past several years has been hard at work as the manager. Her eccentric and upbeat character makes her a fun and caring manager, but when it comes down to business, she does not joke around.

I asked Younghye why Sushi Zanmai has been so successful in such a competitive area and her reply was, “because the consistency of good service”. At Sushi Zanmai, the employees welcome each customer with a warm welcoming by screaming irrashai, which is the Japanese word for welcome. Another factor to Zanmai’s success is the ability to recognize returning customers and connecting to them on a personal basis in order to make them feel like a valued customer. In addition to these factors, Younghye’s organized managing skills and treating employees with respect are big factors in running such a successful business. Younghye views her employees as a family and treats them as such. Employees enjoy a free meal after work everyday and during that time, they socialize about their personal lives. Zanmai employees also hangout outside of work by attending work parties and gathering to eat food such as Korean barbeque or dim sum on a regular basis.

Additionally, I asked Younghye why customers should choose to dine at Sushi Zanmai over the other numerous sushi restaurants in Boulder. She answered, “Sushi Zanmai has a very upbeat, loud, and fun atmosphere that you don’t expect from most Japanese restaurants”.  This atmosphere is exemplified every Saturday night at 10, where Sushi Zanmai hosts a karaoke night that attracts many customers and karaoke regulars for a crazy and fun night. In addition to the atmosphere, Zanmai can provide fresh fish because they go through their fish quickly and provide not only traditional Japanese food but also Americanized Japanese food. History tells why Sushi Zanmai has been so successful because they have been around for 28 years, and it does not seem like they will be leaving anytime soon.

For further information on Sushi Zanmai visit their official website here.

For further information on the Best of Boulder make sure to pick up their next issue or visit their facebook website here.

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The Importance of Customer Service Within the Food Industry.

Customer service proves to be one of the most important keys to the success of the food industry. A lack of customer service makes the customer feel unwelcomed and disengaged from the restaurant. There is a common saying in the restaurant industry that states people will come for the food, but will come back again for the service. The atmosphere of a restaurant is an important factor to the success of the business and poor customer service results in an atmosphere that drives away potential customers that would come in on a regular basis.

Having serving experience in the restaurant industry allows me to have an insight of what brings back customers on a regular basis and how my hospitality towards the customer attributes to it. Serving at Sushi Zanmai, a restaurant that recently won the best of Boulder award, allowed me to serve customers who I catered to on a regular basis. What I found to be true is that providing a warm welcoming and simply remembering the name of the customer will offer incentive to come back again. Another factor in providing great customer service is remembering what a customer orders regularly because it shows that you remember them and they are a valued customer.

A prime example of a business that shutdown due to a lack of customer service is Jimmy and Drew’s, a Jewish deli in Boulder, Colorado.  Jimmy and Drew’s has recently gone out of business and been replaced by Thai Kitchen. This Jewish deli was the only one of it’s kind in Boulder and was a thriving business only a few years ago, but has gone downhill since. At one point, reputable magazines such as Esquire magazine and The New York Times praised Jimmy and Drew’s. One might wonder what has changed since then, and surprisingly enough it is due to the customer service of the business. Douglas Brown, writer at The Denver Post, wrote that the last time he went to Jimmy and Drew’s there was terrible service from college students who refused to acknowledge him and were not even able to make everything on the menu. It comes to no surprise that shortly after Jimmy and Drew’s closed down. This goes to show the real impact that customer service has on a business.

To read more on Douglas Brown’s article on Jimmy and Drew’s go here.

To read more on why restaurant owners and chefs think customer service is important go here.

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Food Trucks Making a Debut in Boulder Parks This Summer

Food trucks in America have gained a large following and popularity throughout the country. Because of this trend, it seems that the city of Boulder is conforming by allowing food trucks more room to roam the city. This will allow those who wish to sell their food a more cost efficient and less risky way to do so. In addition, it will provide citizens of Boulder closer locations for food and beverages and more business opportunities within the food industry. This new addition of food trucks in Boulder will assist in the growth of the food industry throughout the city.

The city of Boulder plans to implement these food trucks within Boulder city parks and for late-night business in downtown Boulder for intoxicated college students. These food trucks will be allowed within the Tom Watson Park, Foothills Community Park, North Boulder Park, Harlow Platts Community Park, East Boulder Community Park, and the city’s downtown Municipal Campus during the summer.  Number of allowed food trucks and hours will differ between each park. If the Boulder City Council approves the summer pilot program, the food trucks will be able to operate in downtown Boulder this summer.

Numerous downtown Boulder restaurants are concerned about the possible increased competition from these food trucks. At this point, city officials have restricted food trucks from operating within 150 feet of restaurants and residential districts. These restrictions have drawn complaints from food truck owners because they hinder their sales, but restaurant owners are more concerned with their own businesses. Downtown Boulder restaurants pay expensive rent and are in possibly one of the most competitive food areas in the country. All this in mind, the city officials are working on a solution to cater to the needs of both restaurants and food trucks along with what is best for the city’s economy. It seems that the future is bright for the business of food trucks within the city of Boulder.

For further information on food trucks within Boulder go here.

For further information on the mobile food vehicle pilot program for parks go here.

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Trader Joe’s to enter competitive Boulder market

According to a local source, Trader Joe’s is headed to Boulder as a part of their new expansion plans.  In early January, the grocery chain completed paperwork with Colorado’s Secretary of State office in order to start conducting business within the next 3 months. This has been met by mixed reactions of Boulder residents.  On one hand, Trader Joe’s offers competitive prices on essential products vital to Boulder consumers. Although they may not have the most diverse product lines on their shelves, the chain targets price conscious buyers to boost their bottom line. On the other hand, many Boulder residents are reacting negatively to the news of a new grocery store chain coming to Boulder. Not only does the city already have large grocery chains like Safeway and King Soopers, the grocery market itself seems already saturated to many residents. With the organic chains of Whole Foods, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Sunflower Farmers Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, Alfalfa’s Market, and Lucky’s, the city is already an extremely competitive market place to enter into.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage’s co-president Kemper Isely emphasized this by stating: “Boulder’s the most competitive natural foods market in the country.” Others have also reinforced the difficulty that Trader Joe’s may have in entering the city. “It’s definitely a bold move for any new food retailer to move into the Boulder market, given how many retailers we have here,” said Carlotta Mast, a local editor of the Natural Food Merchandiser. She went on to mention that “…if there were one retailer who could make a successful go of it, it would be Trader Joe’s.”

Trader Joe’s has since voiced their intentions in Boulder with the bold statement of a location in the Twenty Ninth Street Mall. By stating what makes them unique, and what differentiates themselves from their competition here in the city. This could potentially clear up the citizens uneasy feelings about their arrival. Throughout this informational piece, Trader Joe’s focuses on what positive impacts they can bring to the local community. This could also be a sigh of relief for other Boulder food business that are worried about losing market share. The casual tone of Trader Joe’s seems to appeal to a wide range of consumers that include “the culinary adventurer and microwave aficionado.” Whether their arrival in the city will be a huge success or a disastrous failure remains to be seen, though our questions will be answered in the coming months.

Spencer Donnelly

Trader Joe’s Statement

Daily Camera Article

Food Share issues corporate challenge

Community Food Share is a food bank that serves both Boulder and Broomfield counties. One of every six people in these counties is under the poverty line working with about $29,965 per year for a family of four. This totals about 59,000 people that are living below the poverty level between the two counties. An additional 13,000 children are on the free lunch program in St. Vrain Valley and Boulder Valley school districts. Community Food Share has been delivering meals for the past 32 years and distributes more than 7.5 million meals annually. These meals have been collectively valued at $12.5 million dollars.

The company is currently recruiting corporations for the annual “Compete to Beat Hunger” Corporate Challenge. The purpose of this event is to raise money and food for the food bank. Last year’s winner, WhiteWaves Food Co., raised $225,185 and 5,360 pounds of food.

Competing businesses get 10 points for each dollar donated and one point for every pound of food donated. How the competition works can vary among companies but many have come up with clever fundraisers to create their donations. Among the competing business this year are Amgen, Ball Corp, Remax of Boulder and last years champion WhiteWaves Food Co.

The competition focuses not only on the donations but also on educating businesses about local hunger and poverty issues leading to a more direct form of involvement. It raises a friendly competition among local businesses creating a more connected network within Boulder and Broomfield counties.

Community Food Share not only helps with the county poverty and hunger problems but also helps cut down on the food waste. Grocery stores usually throw out millions of pounds of food per year just within Colorado. This includes damaged foods, items close to their sell-by dates and products that aren’t selling well. Community Food Share takes these unwanted foods and puts them to better use in their food bank. They also benefits from two major food drives a year, one based out of Longmont and one in Boulder.

The success of this local food bank has lead to the purchase of new and larger facility based in Louisville. CEO Jim Baldwin commented on the purchase saying that “With our central role in the community’s fight against hunger and food insecurity, Community Food Share recognized the need for expanded facilities to better serve the growing number of families, individuals, and nonprofit agencies that depend on our food distribution services.”

You can read more on Community Food Share and “Compete to Beat Hunger” at the following links:

Food Share issues Corporate Challenge

Community Food Share Purchases Expanded Facility in Louisville

Community Food Share