The Next Big Hurdle Holidaily Looks for Craft Beer to Leap

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.

Alan Windhausen, Head Brewer, Holidaily Brewing Company — Golden, Colorado

BREWER: Why did you enter the craft beer industry and what makes you love being a part of it and staying in it?
WINDHAUSEN: I pivoted and applied to beer school after undergrad to use my Chemistry/Pre-Med degree in a different way. After working in a record store, getting a master’s in teaching, moving to Alaska and working in schools while flying bush planes, I finally went to beer school five years after applying, and have been expanding my brewing knowledge ever since. It’s cliched, but the culture in craft beer is the best part, especially since it is getting better all the time. With the recent industry-wide focus to be more inclusive and welcoming to women, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC, it feels like a new wave of creativity is just ahead. The constant innovation in our industry thrives when new voices are amplified, so I’m particularly excited for the future!

BREWER: What do you feel have been new challenges in your position that have helped push you and make you better at your job?
WINDHAUSEN: We are a dedicated gluten-free brewery, meaning no gluten enters our buildings and all our ingredients are tested and naturally gluten-free. Historically, gluten-free beers were made with extracts and syrups, but we use malts for a fuller flavor that matches the styles we brew. Tying our entire production to millet and buckwheat malts has made us rethink what goes into mash biochemistry and develop new mash programs from scratch. With a couple dozen gluten-free breweries in the US, it’s exciting to be part of a small group expanding the science behind beer in a new frontier!

BREWER: How has the definition of growth for your company evolved and how have you adjusted to be successful in that new definition?
WINDHAUSEN: Holidaily’s goal has been to make high quality gluten-free beers available to as many people as possible. That has meant continued expansion for the past six years. As a brewer, that means developing a team and processes that are consistently ensuring quality in our product even as we grow.

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BREWER: What strategic growth opportunity do you feel is still “out there” for your brand and how are you working on capitalizing on it this year?
WINDHAUSEN: This year our focus is deepening our roots in the eight states we currently distribute to. We’re reaching out to gluten-free customers who still don’t know that safe, completely gluten-free beer is available for them, as well as proving our mettle to other craft beer drinkers. We make great craft beer that is also completely gluten free, and growing beyond our niche is part of the long term plan! Our team worked hard this year to accurately define our markets and scope, and now our sales and marketing teams are doing a great job to expand within those.

BREWER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
WINDHAUSEN: Quality, safety, and workplace conditions have all been highlighted and steadily improving in craft beer since I started in the industry only 10 years ago. Continual improvements on all those fronts will bring new, talented, passionate people into craft, and brewing needs to grow and learn from them as well. The next big hurdle is moving the industry to a more sustainable future — with raw materials being severely impacted by changing environments, companies need to incorporate a climate plan in their business plan to ensure our industry survives another 50 years!

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