I opened the doors to Renegade on June 26, 2011, a Sunday, just like it is this year. That was 5 years ago and I can remember that moment like it was yesterday. I remember prepping the cash drawer, checking the taps one last time, walking over and unlocking the door to customers and my dream job. Since then it has been a blur of moments and it’s hard to believe they all add up to five years of business.
Renegade has enjoyed a lot of success over the years. Enough success to take us to another facility and share our beer across 5 states. I’ve been asked many times about why I feel I have been successful in a crowded market and what we do to differentiate our brand and our beer. There are a lot of ways to answer that question, each one of them true, but the simplest answer I can offer you and the most truthful is hard fucking work. It’s the same thing behind every Colorado brewery.
When I was planning Renegade and going through the build out and prepping to open, I worked at the University of Colorado in downtown Denver. My office was located a mile from my house and I used to walk to work. Every day on that walk the list of things that needed to be done would roll through my head. It was a scary and exciting time, I was changing my whole world, taking a big risk and planning an independent future. I needed some encouragement on those walks so everyday I listened to Eminem, Lose Yourself. If you knew me better, you would know how odd that is. Basically, the only thing I ever listen to is 90’s grunge. But, every lyric of that song spoke to me. Well maybe not every lyric, I may not know much about trying to buy diapers with food stamps. But, I did learn everything I needed to know about success “Success is my only mutherfuckin’ option, failure’s not.” I took that like to heart so much that I wanted to paint it on my brewery wall. My wife didn’t think that was very family friendly, so we went with Mmm Beer instead. I think she was right.
When you put it to yourself like that, you do what it takes, the late nights, the seemingly insurmountable obstacles and the lost personal time don’t even become a question of can I. Not to quote a cheesy Nike slogan, but you just do it.
Five years later my business has changed a lot and grown a lot. But that mantra still keeps me going and still reminds me to do whatever it takes. I spend more time behind a computer these days than on the brew floor, but I am writing this at the end of a 13 hour day still doing whatever it takes to be successful.
Running this business has given me a deep appreciation for small business owners. I have never met so many passionate and hard-working people in all my life. Even if sometimes we disagree, I know there is passion and hard work behind those words. It has also given me a deep appreciation for you, the beer drinker. No matter how hard the day, how big the obstacle, it has always brought a smile to my face to see you sitting in my taproom drinking my beer, my creation.
Thank you for five years of support. We haven’t always gotten it all right, but we have always given it our all and always will. So, please, come down and raise a glass with me on June 25th to celebrate 5 years of Eminem rolling through my brain and toast the next 5 years of hard work and Offensively Delicious beer.