We recently connected with Karen Hertz and have shared our conversation below.
Karen, appreciate you joining us today. Finding those key vendors can often be make or break for a brand. Can you talk to us about how you found your key vendors?
When I was in the early stages of looking for gluten-free ingredients, I googled “Gluten-free grains” and came across a woman named Twila Soles, owner of Grouse Malt House. At the time Grouse was the only gluten-free malting company in the U.S. This was fate – not only was it another rare woman owned business in the brewing industry but she happened to be just 50 miles down the road from my front door in Colorado.
There are so many lessons along the way in an entrepreneur’s journey. What stood out most in terms of a lesson was trust in myself. So much doubt can fill your head when you are thinking of disrupting an industry. But I took what felt like “lucky” circumstances
as signs. Signs that this was meant to be.
Karen, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
In my early 30’s, while pregnant with my twin girls, I was diagnosed with melanoma. A year later with twin babies alive and BUSY, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and an autoimmune thyroid disease. After surgery and radiation treatments for both cancers, my doctors recommended I adopt a gluten-free diet to help with inflammation and aid me in my recovery. After battling and ultimately beating cancer, I decided to focus on health, happiness and a commitment to celebrate life every single day. (This mentality would later inspire the name of my company, Holidaily Brewing Company, as a reminder to make every day a holiday).
At the time that doctors suggested I remove gluten from my diet, beer was a part of my social life and a huge part of the Colorado outdoor lifestyle. Unfortunately, no more gluten meant no more beer. I was nearly a decade into working for one of the largest breweries in the world, Molson Coors. Outside of work, beer was woven into the Colorado lifestyle I enjoyed living, from tailgate parties to sporting events, to skiing, and more.
I discovered for most foods and beverages, I could find a replacement or just eliminate that food without feeling like I was missing out. Beer, however, had very few options and the quality of those that did exist didn’t compare to the booming, traditional craft beer quality happening around me in Colorado. I began thinking that there had to be others out there that just wanted to have a beer but were required to follow a similar diet as me.
After research and recipe development, I opened Holidaily Brewing Company in February of 2016.
Fast forward to today, and Holidaily Brewing Company is the largest gluten-free brewery in the country (of the over 9,000 breweries in the US, there are currently 17 dedicated gluten-free breweries). Of the 17 dedicated gluten-free breweries, we are the only certified woman-owned. We have grown over 1000% since 2016. Holidaily now employs 42 people. We have received a number of accolades in both brewing and business. In recent years, we have won medals at the Great American Beerfest and US Beer Open, been named a Top 10 Woman-owned Brewery in the world, and have been featured in national publications such as Popsugar, Food & Wine Magazine, Men’s Journal, and Gluten-free Living Magazine.
Any advice for managing a team?
Holidaily has a defined set of core values used to hire, manage and promote our employees. Our core values consist of: Integrity, Accountability, Innovation, Quality, Safety and Winning Attitude. Holidaily is an inclusive, authentic community that celebrates a life of health and happiness. We promote a work-hard/play-hard culture through quarterly awards where employees nominate each other based on their expression of our core values. In addition we have a weekly “Holidaily Hill Climb” benefit where staff receives credit once a week for a half hour spent outside walking, running, riding, etc. getting fresh air and doing something to promote health. After 5 weeks, they receive a $50 gift card of choice. And, of course, we hold staff happy hours – it is all about beer after all.
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?
On January 1, 2019 grocery stores were permitted to sell full strength beer in Colorado. Chains such as Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Total Wine, King Soopers and more put Holidaily brands on their shelves. The additional outlets created a need for the company to transition from self distribution to partnering with local distributors and create a distribution footprint covering the entire state of Colorado.
Increased demand led to Holidaily building a world class production brewery in 2019. In order to open the 10,000 square foot facility the Holidaily team conducted fundraising, designed the facility, assisted with the building project, purchased new equipment, created jobs and improved processes and operations. Holidaily’s barrel capacity for production increased from 20 barrels to 620 barrels.
- Website: www.holidailybrewing.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/holidailybrew/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/holidailybrewingcompany/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/holidaily-brewing-company
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/HolidailyBrew
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMjhWGxaQCCzCxwJJJR0FKw
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/holidaily-brewing-company-greenwood-village?osq=holidaily and https://www.yelp.com/biz/holidaily-brewing-golden-2?osq=holidaily
- Other: Holidaily Online store https://holidailybrewing.square.site/
Kimberly Swanson Photography, Trentryanb Photography