Brewer Magazine Q&A: Matt Sandy & Tony Rau, Great Divide

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the U.S.
Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA Managers and others each weekend to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.

Matt Sandy, Marketing Manager & Tony Rau, brewer  — Great Divide Brewery & Roadhouse, Castle Rock, Colorado

BREWER: How has your business strategy evolved to help grow and stay competitive?
SANDY: We’ve really focused on being a strong regional brewery — scaling back in certain geographic areas and ramping up in others. We’ve taken a hard look at our portfolio and not been afraid to make changes, discontinuing some beers and releasing beers that fill gaps. We’ve also looked at expanding the in-person Great Divide experience beyond our taprooms. To that end, we opened up the Great Divide Brewery and Kitchen at Denver International Airport in 2019 and teamed with Vibe Concepts to open the Great Divide Brewery & Roadhouse in Castle Rock in 2020.

BREWER: What idea did you or your team come up with lately that has been a big benefit to how your brewery functions?
RAU: We’ve streamlined our beer piloting program, really focusing on innovation and improvement. We’re looking far ahead to the beers we want to release in a year’s time and giving ourselves enough time to brew several batches to make sure what we release is the best version of that beer. We’re also looking at beers that have been in our portfolio for years and asking ourselves if there are improvements that can be made to create the best version of those beers.

BREWER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
RAU: If there would be one strategy to implement to help better the brewing industry, focusing on getting more education to consumers would be a big push. Beer drinkers these days are already more educated than they have been in the past, but continuing to foster that growth would help either get excitement about new beers or changes to current ones or helping to get direct feedback for what they are looking for. This would allow for more transparency between the brewery and consumer.

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