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Holidaily, a Gluten-Free Dedicated Brewery

A flight of beers enjoyed on Holidaily’s patio. | Photo credit: Bobby Jones

ONE OF FIVE GLUTEN-FREE BREWERIES IN US

In Feb. 2016, Holidaily Brewing Co. officially opened their doors to the public. After a year and a half of being open for business, the company continues to grow each and every week. Holidaily Brewing Co. is Colorado’s only gluten-free dedicated brewery, and is 1 of 5 gluten-free dedicated breweries in the entire nation. With Colorado being at the forefront of the beer scene in the US, all eyes should be on Holidaily, as they push to revolutionize the beer industry.

Holidaily is the brainchild of Karen Hertz, a CU Denver alum. In 2007 Hertz was diagnosed with melanoma and in 2008 was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune disease that affects the stabilization of the thyroid). “Most people with Hashimoto’s develop an intolerance to gluten or have Celiac disease,” Hertz said. “At that time, I was working in distribution at Miller/Coors. I was surrounded in a culture of beer and was trying to maintain my love for beer, but couldn’t find any good gluten free options.”

“The development of Holidaily came as a crossroads between my personal life, work, and education,” Hertz said. “I was dealing with Hashimoto’s symptoms, had a background in working with beer, and had finished my MBA at CU Denver Business School with a focus in entrepreneurship. I decided at this point to venture out and try to create something that is viable for not only myself, but for others, as well.”

“I started to notice that many gluten free beers on the market were being made with syrups–which meant not a lot of body in the beer–and tasted really sweet, and overall didn’t have great quality,” Hertz said. “I then started to notice that a lot of breweries that offer a gluten-free beer had a lot of room for contamination with the mixing of grains within a brewery. On the market was also gluten reduced beer, where an enzyme is added to break down gluten but it isn’t completely gone, which can still affect people with severe gluten allergies.”

Hertz was able to elaborate on the process in which their beer is made. “I source my grains from a company who grows glutenfree grains called Grouse Malt House,” Hertz said. “The woman who owns the business grows millet and buckwheat which are gluten free. A beer is made up of grain, water, hops, and yeast. Water and hops are gluten free, and we can test to make sure the yeast is gluten-free, but the hardest part was finding gluten-free grain.”

“Finding this source allowed us to take the brewing process further. The difficulty with using these nontraditional grains is that they are smaller in size and more need to be used in beers. I worked with the CSU fermentation school who helped develop a system for the beer to brewed efficiently and using the different grains to create a great gluten-free beer.”

The system that Holidaily uses is unique to the brewery.

“We can create dark to light beers, for authenticity and differentiation in beers,” Hertz said.

Since Holidaily is a one- of-a-kind brewery in Colo., the response has been nothing but positive. “We are continuously growing each and every week,” Hertz said. “Our biggest customers are actually other breweries, who are offering their beer but want to offer a legitimate gluten-free option to their customers. They believe in what we have created and want to support us and build their business, as well. Currently, we are in over 100 different retail outlets, including Coors Field. Our taproom, located in Golden, is open every day of the week. There are so many different people who come in: some are on vacation and come out to visit us because they want to enjoy the beer scene but have an intolerance to gluten, which is cool that we get to provide that experience for them.”

Hertz opened up about the influence that her education from CU Denver had on the process of embarking on her own entrepreneurial adventure.

“It was great that I had the tools I learned from CU Denver to help me along the way of this venture. Entrepreneurship is difficult and I have learned a lot of things along the way. For people looking to start their own business, I would suggest being comfortable with risk and just go for it. I think so many people have great ideas but they sit on the idea for too long and the opportunity passes them by. I like to say, ‘ready, fire, aim’ because in an entrepreneurial you don’t have time to say “ready, aim, fire,” because it will take too long,”

“I think it is much easier to get going with an idea and make adjustments along the way and learn as you go,” Hertz said. 

“It is very hard to be extremely meticulous and worry about perfection, when that’s simply not plausible. It is better to seize the opportunity and hone in on it than not.”

Hertz, also advocates for women in business and the beer industry. “The woman who is our supplier of grains, is not just a supplier, she is like a teammate for us. Without her, we wouldn’t exist. I think it’s amazing to see other women own their own businesses, but also those working in the beer industry, as well. The beer industry is heavily dominated by males, and I think it’s important to work together and uplift one another rather than see other women as competition.”

“I work closely with women-owned breweries in the beer industry,” Hertz said. “We get together about once a month to talk about business and other topics. It’s so important to build these relationships with other women in the industry and hear about their businesses. We all have this network that can be utilized, and it’s just really cool to see and be a part of.” 

Hertz thanks the breweries success to their supplier, but also to Wayne Burns. “Wayne has over 25 years in the commercial beer industry as a brewer,” Hertz said. “He is our head brewer here at Holidaily, and without him I think it would be difficult to succeed. He is extremely talented and brings his best to our team at Holidaily.”

Holidaily taproom is located at 801 Brickyard Cir. Golden, 80403. The brewery hosts a number of events each week. From beer tastings, to hosting sports games viewings, the Holidaily calendar is never empty. The culture and history of the company is rooted in authenticity and ingenuity, like the taste of their beers. Holidaily is a must visit for those with gluten allergies or for those looking for a welcoming atmosphere.

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