The Two-Fold Approach Marchio is Taking Knotted Root to Succeed

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the US.
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.

Christopher Marchio, Founder/Owner/Brewmaster & Creative Director, Knotted Root Brewing — Nederland, Colorado

BREWER: What do you feel have been new challenges in your position that have helped push you and make you better at your job? 
MARCHIO: I would say the normal elements of business growth, creative strategy, and trying to find our own “creative voice” in a crowded field of extremely talented brewers. Also, opening in the summer of 2019, we were lucky enough to catch our stride right before the world shut down in serious ways. I would say the entire industry as a whole is dealing with an over inundation of products in the marketplace, fluctuating elements in regards to raw material prices, freight costs, economic factors, and still a “uncertainty” mindset amongst consumers. With all of these factors at play, as a business owner and someone who works closely with our production team… we generally spend our time analyzing what beers sell the best, try to determine why, work to stay competitive on pricing, and in the end, have as much fun as we can while doing it, because that is why we’re in this industry. 

BREWER: Why did you enter the craft beer industry and what makes you love being a part of it and staying in it? 
MARCHIO: To have fun and be able to share my creativity with like minded folks who like good beer in a relaxing atmosphere. Truth be told, I don’t always love it. There are elements about the industry now that are changing so frequently it’s difficult to keep up with the changes. Because of that, we kind of ignore “trends” and just try to make what we like the best that we can and hope that our customers and fans like it too. 

BREWER: What are some recent trends within your job and expertise in the industry that you’ve tried or are excited about trying? 
MARCHIO: After many many years of geeking out of hazy beers, I’ve recently been really excited about pursuing Lager as a more dominant brand. Because Knotted Root is about rotational experimentation, new beers almost every week, fresh & bold flavors… we decided to create an entirely new brand known as “Circular Beer Co.” “Circular” makes two beers, an American Lager aptly named “Home” and an American Light Lager called “Oh’ Kee”. We wanted to separate these as brands because the philosophy of both brewing and drinking is on different ends of the spectrum. Knotted Root beers are designed for experimentation and as more of a conscious drink, where Circular is designed to have people not think, to have people just drink a few and enjoy the surrounding company. We have hopes to eventually grow these brands and the Lager company into a semi-regional offering, still with the upmost attention to detail, quality, and being as competitive on pricing as we can be. So we’re excited about that!

BREWER: What was your business’s greatest accomplishment during the past year, and what are your goals for your brewery this year?
MARCHIO: I touched on it briefly, but the launch of our sister company “Circular Beer Co” and refined Lager brewing practices, branding, and getting these beers into the market was a multi-year venture. Our goal moving forward to work slowly and organically to try and grow this brand to produce a substantial, yet sustainable volume and continue to evolve and stay fresh with our brewing techniques and branding at Knotted Root. 

BREWER: What are some changes in the industry that you’ve observed in the past few years, and how has your business adapted to it to stay competitive? 
MARCHIO: I spoke to it before but I would say the largest changes are the sheer number of breweries, buying patterns amongst consumers, irregular costs of raw materials, freight, and availability of necessary items (cans, lids, etc.) This has forced us to react to these situations in real time and be quick on our feet to adjust accordingly in manageable ways, ways that we can implement changes seamlessly. Essentially being more “present” and focused and avoiding just throwing the business on cruise control and hoping for the best. Also, staffing… it’s so important to maintain a great staff that feels like they are challenged, but also seen and heard when they have suggestions, compensated accordingly and given the parameters to control their own work decisions. Our goal is to have as little turnover as possible, especially being a rural mountainous environment.

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