Castle Rock's downtown restaurant and brewpub Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Co. is nearly three months old, and bursting at the seams. Lines formed out the door on opening day. Patrons stayed from open to …
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Castle Rock's downtown restaurant and brewpub Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Co. is nearly three months old, and bursting at the seams.
Lines formed out the door on opening day. Patrons stayed from open to close during the town's 2018 Starlighting (Wild Blue Yonder has a direct view of The Rock). On the weekends, owners would like to have live music, but the building gets too crowded to fit a stage.
In short, the first three months have been a whirlwind, said co-owner Andrew Wasson.
Colorado Community Media spoke with Wasson ahead of the three-month anniversary about the business's start and plans for the future.
What was your background before opening Wild Blue Yonder?
My background is in real estate. I have been a real estate broker for the last 15 years and currently own my own real estate company. That is what assisted with the project development for this endeavor, Wild Blue Yonder. My brother, Dean, and wife, Rachel, are the other two owners.
My brother has a background in restaurants and brewing. He went to the University of California, Davis Master Brewers Program and then went to Johnson & Wales for the culinary program. My wife has a background in project management as well as organization leadership.
So, the three of us had everything needed to put together this effort. It was an incredible opportunity, so we took it.
When did Wild Blue Yonder open and what does the operation entail?
We opened on Oct. 26. We are a brewpub with a full menu and we make all our own beers in-house. We also have a full liquor license. We open daily at 11 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Due to overwhelming demand, we opened a carriage house on the property built in 1887 that offers additional seating capacity of 49 people. On weekends we typically fill both buildings, the carriage house and the main brewpub. Fun fact about the carriage house — it's one of Castle Rock's oldest operating structures.
What has your experience running a brewpub been like so far?
Amazing. We had high expectations for this place and we continue to exceed those. In fact, our food sales are double what our highest expectations were. To meet demand, not only have we added seating, but we now hire over 30 people and are already looking to expand our brewery and kitchen operation in the coming year.
We're planning to add an outdoor kitchen to service the patios and beer garden. Our kitchen is in the former Augustine Grill building built in 1902. It can service the carriage house and the main room, but we have enough seating outside to double capacity. So, we're blowing the doors off.
What other changes are ahead for the brewpub?
We can't wait to start showing live music. We're looking to be Castle Rock's premier venue for live music and patio space. On Friday and Saturday nights during the winter, when we're not using our outdoor seating, we get so busy we honestly don't have room. But there's a section in our outdoor beer garden where were hoping to put a temporary stage and have music acts on the weekends.
What's been the most challenging and most rewarding part of opening a brew pub?
Most challenging has been the staffing. Castle Rock has a very low unemployment rate and getting positive, energetic workers has been a challenge for every business owner. The past few months we've been hiring aggressively and were now at a staffing level we feel comfortable at, but we fully expect to double for the spring and summer.
I think the most rewarding has been the feedback that we have gotten from our patrons that have really been excited about the risk we took in opening and how it came together. How it pays homage to the history of Castle Rock but also shows the new direction that Castle Rock is going. It brings that sense of the more modern aesthetic together with historic buildings.
Any final thoughts?
We are so excited for 2019 and looking to grow and get better and really showcase what we have to offer — how this property is going to become a destination spot in Castle Rock.
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