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Meet Tyler Burgei, Nick Stafford and Brandi Burgei of LandLocked Ales in Lakewood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tyler Burgei, Nick Stafford and Brandi Burgei.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Nick and I met at an office job, and I had been home brewing for a little while. We hit it off as friends and realized we shared a passion for great beer, and he was instantly interested in brewing as well. We began brewing together regularly, pretty much every weekend, constantly talking about starting our own brewery, when our wives gave us the final push and basically told us to sh*t or get off the pot. We decided to go for it, gathered up some investors and loans, eventually found a spot that fit the niche we were looking for, and after a ton of roadblocks, opened our doors in June 2017.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
NO! Getting open was the most stressful thing I’ve ever gone through. First of all, we had a lease signed at a different location, but it turned out the water line wasn’t up to code but was grandfathered in as is. Since we would have had to make some changes to it, we were responsible for upgrading it to code, and not being a stand-alone building, in turn upgrading the entire building, which had about 15 other business in it. The upgrade was quoted at about $150K. Luckily, the landlord had mercy and let us out of the lease, so the long search started over. When we finally found our current place, build out was anticipated to take 90 days, and due to several setbacks, ended up taking over a year. So much time and money, way more than we had anticipated!

LandLocked Ales – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
From the onset, LandLocked Ales has had a focus on brewing lower gravity beers, essentially meaning lower alcohol. There are a ton of craft breweries out there, and a great deal of them primarily have beers that are 6, 7, 8, 9 percent alcohol by volume (abv) and higher! You have a couple, and they put you on your ass! Most of the time, the beers are delicious, but our fear is that people have come to associate good flavor with high abv, and vice versa – that is to say, just because a beer is higher in abv, it’s “good.” This is the conundrum we have crusaded to upturn. We want to show that a beer can be lower in abv – well over half the beers in our portfolio are in the 4-5% abv range – and still be delicious and interesting. Our philosophy is that beer, as a concept, is about spending time with your buds or other loved ones, and tipping back a few, not having one or two and being too drunk to stand up. Big beers have a time and place; they can be fun and certainly interesting. But our beers are targeted to the “everyday beer” drinker – something you can put down like a light beer, but still be enjoyable and interesting on the palate.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
In short, quite simply, being able to do what I love while also being able to provide for my family. In order to achieve that, a certain amount of expansion is required, as well as more hours and sweat equity put in than we already have. Owning a business means never truly having a day off; I know, personally, I haven’t gone a day without checking sales, checking the bank accounts, checking e-mails, etc., even when on vacation, but it’s not a nuisance because I love our business, and I love what we’re doing. I still especially get excited about brew days. If anyone has ever seen the movie Green Street Hooligans, there’s a line when an English guy, who is stoked about it being a game day for soccer (football), says enthusiastically, “Let’s have some fun, eh? IT’S FOOTBALL DAY!” On brew days, and I’ve done this for years, even when home brewing, I always wake up and say to myself in an English accent, “IT’S BREW DAY!” just excited and downright happy about it. I’m not in this to get rich. I’ve said for a long time, if I’m able to make as much doing this as I was making at my day job, I will consider myself a huge success. Got a long ways to go, but I’m faithful; it’s a grind.

Pricing:

  • $5.50-$7 for pints for almost all beers

Contact Info:

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