BY DONNA CURRIE
When Steve and Leslie Kaczeus’ new brewery, Bootstrap Brewing, opens in June, it will be Niwot’s first brewery and what the couple hopes will be a destination location, drawing people from Niwot, Longmont, Boulder, and beyond.
The couple lives in Niwot. “We get to walk to work,” Steve said, but it’s not just proximity that made them choose Niwot for the business. Both Steve and Leslie said that the community in Niwot has been very welcoming.
Starting a brewery is not an easy task. Steve had been home brewing beer since 1993, but “got serious the last four years.” The couple went to a craft beer conference where they fell in love with the culture surrounding beer brewing.
In the high-tech industry where they had both worked, competitors kept secrets. In the brewing world, breweries shared information freely.
Photo by Donna Currie
Leslie and Steve Kaczeus are eager to open their new brewery in Niwot.
One brewer at the conference even offered Steve a chance to work at his commercial brewery to learn how to brew beer on a larger scale. Later, he took classes and graduated from the American Brewer’s Guild.After graduation, Steve bought a “really cool copper brewhouse” which he put into storage while the couple searched for a perfect location for their new business. They looked at several other properties before they found their perfect spot, with two outdoor patios and space for a small organic garden.
The space is just south of Cottonwood Park Shopping Center, and the back patio faces Cottonwood Condominiums. Steve and Leslie talked to the owners of the condos to see what they thought of having a small brewery that close.
Not only did the residents welcome the brewery, several asked if it would be possible to put a gate in the fence between the two properties for easier access.
Other neighbors are just as excited about the new brewery, and that includes the bike commuters who travel the trails between Longmont and Boulder.
Meanwhile, the couple has been working through all the regulations required to open the brewery, and that includes not only the usual zoning and business applications, but also the government regulations for selling beer.
The process has taken longer than the couple expected, but they said they had a lot of help working through all of it. “Tim Wise was the first to offer help,” Steve said, but the whole business community was very helpful, “They rallied behind us.”
There are still a few steps left before they can sell beer on tap as well as kegs to restaurants, and construction is ongoing, but “We’re so close we can taste the beer,” Steve said.
Leslie added that the processes weren’t that difficult, but “it just takes time.” With over 1200 new breweries in the planning stages in the US, that’s a lot of paperwork that needs to filter through the system.
“The owner of the building has been very supportive,” Steve said, pointing out work that had been done outside.
The construction workers at the site seem to be just as enthusiastic. “We’re helping you have your dream come true,” one of the crew said to Leslie.
“All these guys are really excited about this brewery,” Steve said. “Everyone is cheering us on.”
When the brewery is finished, two garage doors will open to the outdoor patio space, and the organic garden and hops will be growing nearby. There will be live music and up to 10 beers on tap.
Meanwhile, construction crews are milling about and the couple has a timetable for when they need to start brewing the first batches of beer. “It’s like a symphony,” Leslie said, “Everything has to come in at a certain time.”
The plan is to have the building completed by May 25, so the brewing can begin. That process takes two to four weeks, so it will be done in time for the scheduled June 20 grand opening. That date was chosen since it’s the first day of summer and the longest day of the year.
The brewery will be selling pints, flights, and 64-ounce growlers to the public, and kegs to restaurants. There won’t be any food served, but food trucks might be invited to the brewery, and catering is possible.
But it’s not all about the beer. “We want to be able to tell a story about Niwot,” Steve said. The couple hopes the brewery will be a place where visitors can learn more about Niwot and its shops and services.
Judging by the number of people who stopped by during the interview, it seems like the new brewery is well on its way to becoming a destination location even before the doors open.
Bootstrap Brewing is located at 6778 North 79th Street, just south of Cottonwood Park Shopping Center, The brewery will be open Monday-Thursday 3-8 p.m. and Friday-Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. For more information, see www.bootstrapbrewing.com.