Welcome to Part IV of the Bespoke Edge Colorado Style campaign. In this edition, we are catching up with one of Fort Collin’s award winning breweries – Funkwerks. Specifically, we sat down with one of the founders, Brad Lincoln, and asked him to tell us a bit about the business. And of course, we asked both Brad and his co-founder, Gordon Schuck, to design a custom dress shirt.
Here’s what happened:
1. [Bespoke Edge] How did the business get started? Can you tell us a little about your background? And Gordon’s background?
[Brad Lincoln] Gordon and I met in Chicago at the Siebel Institute for Brewing Science in 2009. I decided to abandon my career as a CPA in and enrolled. Gordon had an engineering background and prior to signing up for brewing school, was working in Steamboat at Moot’s Cycles building titanium bicycle frames.
Our diverse backgrounds complimented one another and we decided to become partners. I flew out to Steamboat, CO to write up the business plan with Gordon and we decided to start the brewery in Fort Collins because of the established and growing beer culture.
2. Funkwerks has built quite a name for itself with its saisons – what led the two of you to focus on this style of beer?
We decided to start a niche brewery for a couple of reasons. Gordon has a passion for Saisons and had won an award from his homebrewed Saison at the National Homebrew Competition in 2007. IPAs were in fashion, as they still are, and Saisons were rare to come by, which helped us to stand out in the oversaturated market.
It was considered a risky move at the time, due to the lack of knowledge of the beer style in the market. However, the strong beer culture in Fort Collins really gave us an advantage and people were excited to taste and learn more about our beer.
3. What has been your favorite beer creation to date, and why?
My favorite has always been our Solenna, which was a dry hoped Belgian-Style Amber with Brettanomyces. Because of the use of Brettanomyces the beer changed as it aged. It went from sweet and fruity, to funky, to ultra dry in a matter of months.
4. Please briefly describe your thinking behind the BE shirts each of you created.
Gordon chose a Paisley material because he recently named a beer Paisley and the label had a beautiful paisley pattern that may have been his favorite label we’ve made.
Anyone who knows me can tell you that my wardrobe is chock-full of plaid shirts. Last Halloween, Gordon wore a plaid shirt and the team thought Gordon was dressing up for Halloween as me. Apparently, plaid has become my identity, so I chose an orange plaid material, one of the hardest colors to find.
Custom shirts not only fit better, they reflect the individuality of people through their clothing.
5. What’s the future of Funkwerks look like?
When we started Funkwerks, it was never in my plans to be as large as we are now. I never expected to be brewing over 1,000 barrels of beer a year. In 2015 we plan to brew 3,000 barrels, which is still relatively small, we brew 15 barrel batches and now have 18 employees.
We recently started bottling in 4-packs. We will package Raspberry Provincial, our Belgian Fruit Sour in August of this year, and hopefully have our Belgian Quad in 4-packs by this winter.
Our barrel-aging program continues to grow as well. We recently purchased more oak barrels, in addition to our first Foeder (which is essentially a large oak barrel). Growing our barrel capacity should allow us to have a barrel-age and sour beer more available.
About Funkwerks Brewing
Funkwerks Brewing is a Fort Collins based niche brewery specializing in saisons. For those of you that may be familiar with Brewery Row in Fort Collins, Funkwerks is presently located in the facility that Fort Collins Brewery once called home (back when I was 21!). They are brewing some great beer and the taproom is always filled with friendly faces. You may even see me there…
By Ryan Wagner
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