How did you guys get your brewery started up?
Well that’s a loaded question! But, long story short back in 2017 I was selected to be on a T.V. show called Beerland that aired on the channel Viceland. It was a home brewing competition. I was a part of season one which focused on 5 states with competitors in: Colorado, California, New Mexico, New York and Hawaii. They narrowed the competition down to one finalist per state. I had won for the state of Colorado! Then all five finalist were flown out to Los Angeles to Golden Road Brewing where we did another 3 days of filming and competition with 3 other judges. We had to present our beer in front of brewery full of folks ready to critique our beers before it went up to the judges! Of the five finalist they were going to select the top two home brewers. I was selected as one of the top two going up against the finalist for New York. Then we had to do a rapid round of questions from the judges and speak more on our beer. And I was fortunate enough to win the entire competition and bring the win back home for Colorado Springs! This was by far the most intimidating thing I have ever done or been a part of! As part of the grand prize I had the opportunity to work one on one with Golden Road’s master brewer and scale my 5 gal recipe to their 50 bbl system! Once it was scaled I was flown back out to L.A. to brew it with them. Once brewed it was canned and distributed nationally with a heavy emphasis on the five competing states! Kegs were distributed to amazing restaurant/bars and events were booked to celebrate the win! I mean I can say my beer was poured at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant at the Staples center while my win was advertised on the big screens! It was beyond amazing. But through all the events and my beer going on the market and selling out it ultimately served as a catalyst for me in knowing that there was a market for the type of beers I wanted to make. It was a huge A-HA moment for me! The winning beer was a Tamarind Biere de Garde named Doña Neta. A tribute beer to my late grandmother who taught me how to make tamarind candies from scratch.
What was the driving factor towards wanting to open up your own brewery?
Diversity, it’s on tap! This was written in my notebook years before I opened my brewery (which is now prominently displayed on our storefront marquee and my merchandise). A simple message with a huge meaning! As my love and passion grew for craft beer so did my curiosity. Why are there not more women brewers? Why are there not more people who look like me consuming craft beer? Where is the diversity? Bringing diversity to the forefront was a major motivating factor for me. I set a goal to be the FIRST Latina owner and head brewer with an all woman staff when I was to open my brewery. I always say that I don’t fit in the box of what a head brewer or brewery owner should look like. I am neither white, or a male or have a beard past my neck. I wear make up everyday. I always have my nails done. I love to get my hair done up. I look girly. Everyone knows that’s not what a brewer looks like. Right? And, people will ask me “Well, isn’t THAT stereotypical of you to say that too though?” and my answer is always, NO. My personal experience tells me NO. Words and conversations that have actually been said to me tells me NO. Statistics tells me NO. The looks I got when I was trying to pave my way through this industry just to learn, grow and open doors to my own brewery tells me NO. My experience as a consumer and customer tells me NO. NO it’s not stereotypical of me to say it is real of me to say. Diversity is certainly needed in this industry, in fact, it is need in all industries. Diversity is about inclusion. Creating a space where ALL feel welcome and respected without regard to sex, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious belief or lack thereof. ANYONE who wants to be in the top tiers of their industry should have those opportunities open to them and not just to check that box off that “one” was considered but to truly be weighed against their counterparts in a fair and unbiased manner. This motivated me then and drives me today.
What has been the message behind the beer you make?
In my brewery it becomes more than just the beer. I create a menu that at any given rotation speaks to Diversity. It creates a dialogue and a celebration of cultures. It invokes a conversation that otherwise would not take place. It becomes a sharing of cultures and experiences. Every pint acknowledges that we are all different and yet we are all the same at the core.
What sets Atrevida Beer Co apart from other breweries?
Well let’s start with the name of my brewery. ATREVIDA. Atrevida means a woman who is bold, daring and fearless. As a Company we are challenging the standard definition of craft beer.. We are a women forward brewery who has a Latina head brewer/owner. 5 of our 6 employees are women. Three of which are Latinas. We are demonstrating diversity in everything we do and we live by this motto. We have been the only local independent brewery to march in PRIDE parade in Colorado Springs for the past 2 years (since we opened). Atrevida is the place to go where nobody is different and everybody is welcome. The doors are wide open for all cultures, races, genders, and ethnicity to sit down enjoy a great beer, relax and engage in discussion. Atrevida is quite literally putting diversity on tap where ever we go!
Have you noticed any difference between being a Latinx brewery owner versus other breweries?
(How has the community at large been with you all and who tends to be your largest demographic)
As a whole we have been very well received, thankfully! We have folks who congratulate us for being so bold in our message and we get folks who question our message. I think the difference in being a Latina Owner with a strong message is that I do get questioned. I’ll give you an example. I was about 30 minutes into a great conversation with a male customer and at one point he says “Hey can I ask you a question?” I said “sure!” and he looks me dead in the eye with all seriousness and says “How is it working with all women in a brewery?” I looked at him waiting for the I’m just kidding laugh until I realized he was serious. So I put my index finger up gesturing for him to hang on just a minute. I went I poured myself a beer and I came back to him and looked him dead in the eye with all seriousness and said “Well, let me ask YOU a question. Do you make it a habit to go to other breweries and ask them what it’s like working with all men in a brewery?” and he looks at me, smiles and shamefully says “yeah, I am an asshole. I’m sorry!” and without skipping a beat I looked at him, smiled and said ” yeah… next pint on me!” and we both laughed and cheers’d. I had another customer tell me my accent was too thick and he couldn’t understand me. Mind you I speak perfect English. Another who told my friend “Yeah we’ll see how long this Latina card lasts”. My point is that these very specific comments and questions are being said to me for a reason. Do I think the other breweries are being asked or told the same things. My answer is no. While it is not my responsibility to educate anyone I do feel that with my message I can bring awareness, as in the first example, without being combative or disrespectful. With that being said for every one person that has something crazy or negative to say we have dozens more who support and encourage who we are as a company!
In what ways do you fuse your heritage into the brewery and the beers you make?
I am inspired by infusing cultures, people,music, cultural events, flavors I grew up with and more in my beer making process. For example, I have a Boricua Belgian Blonde, I have a Juneteenth Cream Ale, I have a Malala Yousafzai DIPA. I also have some fun ones that are reflective of my own culture and flavors I have grown up with such as Fresas Con Crema cream ale on nitro, Chocolate Ibarra stout, Drunk’n Churro witbier, Dolores Huerta Mexican Lager. I also do a 4 day event for Dia De Los Muertos with beers to match! These are just a few examples of how I bring diversity and culture to my beers.