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 March 27, 2018

Boulder Beer: It’s all in a (Gina) Day’s work

Gina Day, Boulder Beer Co. • 2018 Boulder County Business Hall of Fame

Boulder Beer co-owner Diane Greenlee has a definite opinion about Gina Day’s role in the success of the venerable brewery:

“Gina did all the work,” she said, “and I got half the credit.”

Gina Day knows better. She and husband Frank, along with Bob and Diane Greeley, share the kudos for the continued success of Boulder Beer, which had been founded in 1979 as Colorado’s first microbrewery. They acquired Boulder Beer in 1990, and, Gina Day said, “the nice thing is that we’re still here.”

Armed with a bachelor’s degree in medical technology, Day earned a certification with the American Society of Clinical Pathology. During her medical career, she worked at Boulder Community Hospital and the Peoples Clinic as well as Corning Medical Co.

She entered the hospitality business in 1990 when they opened The Walnut Brewery and she helped develop the menus and beverage list.

“We opened Walnut Brewery but we were unable to produce enough beer for the restaurant — and we were not producing really good beer,” Diane Greenlee said. “Gina, as a medical tech, took on the responsibility to figure out what was wrong. It was contaminated, and after several months she finally worked that out.”

Gina Day became active managing partner of Boulder Beer in March 1991 and served as chief executive and president until 2002. The company grew rapidly and was ranked 221st on Inc. magazine’s 1995 list of the nation’s 500 fastest-growing private companies.

The honors flowed like craft beer for Gina Day. In 1994 she was named Ernst and Young’s Retail/Wholesale/Distribution Entrepreneur of the Year in the Rocky Mountain region, and the Boulder Chamber’s Esprit Entrepreneur of Distinction. She was the U.S. Small Business Association’s Colorado Small Business Person of the Year in 1995, and the next year the company received the Quality Award in Manufacturing from the American Society of Quality Control’s Rocky Mountain Chapter.

She worked as a beverage consultant to Rock Bottom Restaurants and Boulder Beer from 2001 to 2010, and acquired Boulder Beer back from Craftworks Restaurants in 2014. She currently serves as a consultant and partner with Concept Restaurants, whose holdings include the Hotel Boulderado, the Walrus and Boulder Beer.

In the community, she served on the boards for the University of Colorado’s College of Music, the Boulder Community Hospital Foundation and United Bank of Boulder, and as an advocate for the People’s Clinic’s indigent-care facility.

Day enjoys competing with her horses in the hunter/jumper circuits, fly fishing, skiing and bicycling.

Boulder Beer has endured, she said, despite competition from out-of-state beers, contract brewers and “the big guys that came in and tried to take over the Colorado market. Now it’s all the little guys and little brewers coming in.

“There’s a lot of brewers in the area,” she said. “It’s become a different game. You have to adapt and make it work to survive.”

View 2018 Boulder County Business Hall of Fame publication.

Boulder Beer co-owner Diane Greenlee has a definite opinion about Gina Day’s role in the success of the venerable brewery:

“Gina did all the work,” she said, “and I got half the credit.”

Gina Day knows better. She and husband Frank, along with Bob and Diane Greeley, share the kudos for the continued success of Boulder Beer, which had been founded in 1979 as Colorado’s first microbrewery. They acquired Boulder Beer in 1990, and, Gina Day said, “the nice thing is that we’re still here.”

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