Colorado small businesses are less likely to change health insurers for the upcoming year, even as they anticipate continued price increases, according to the second-annual Delta Dental of Colorado Small Business Survey.
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Longmont’s newest craft beer brewery will open for business at noon on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 335 First Ave.
“We’re all excited,” Mark Lusher, one of four co-founders, said Wednesday. “There’s a little nervous energy as well because there’s so much to do and get ready. We want to hopefully get a great start and establish a good reputation.”
Lusher said there is still an inspection with the city and last-minute cosmetic work to complete, as well as finishing up the first batches of beer to be served. Tasting room hours will be 2-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon-8 p.m. on Sunday.
Lusher, who works in IT and web development and owns the Colab co-working space in downtown Boulder, is starting the brewery with Candace Newcomb, an accountant, and Jean and Dan Ditslear, who own a marketing firm in Longmont.
Lusher is head brewer, while Dan Ditslear will assist. But all four founders plan to have a hand in the brewery’s operations. 300 Suns – the name a nod to Colorado’s 300 days of sunshine per year – has also hired three part-time bartenders with plans to bring on a couple more, Lusher said.
The crew’s 3,000-square-foot brewery will include a 1,250-square-foot tasting room. There is also a 650-square-foot deck, though for a few days in September a dock seemed more appropriate.
The 300 Suns founders signed their lease just days before September’s historic flood that ripped through the center of Longmont. About two blocks north of the St. Vrain River, 300 Suns had floodwater up to the building on all sides. Luckily, the building was elevated just enough that floodwater wasn’t able to get inside. The only slight damage came from rainwater seeping in through the roof, though Lusher said none of it caused much of an issue given that it came before build-out had begun.
Originally planning to open in December, the timeline was pushed back due to slight delays from the permitting process and winter weather.
In addition to their own money, Lusher said the founders raised startup funds through a variety of sources that included an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, private-equity investors and a Small Business Administration loan, as well as financing through High Plains Bank in Longmont. Startup costs reached into the six figures, he said.
300 Suns will operate a seven-barrel system and conservatively projects output of about 500 barrels this year. Lusher said there is room to add another fermenter. Expansion into more of the 12,000-square-foot building where the brewery is located could also be an option in the future.
Lusher said the brewery plans to operate only the taproom for now. In three to six months, he said 300 Suns will begin kegging for restaurants and distributing bombers, as well as possibly canning some beers.
Most importantly, 300 Suns began brewing beer the last week of January and plans to have four offerings on tap for opening day.
“You can’t rush (the beer),” Lusher said.