Everything he needed to know about opening a brewery, Wyatt Patterson learned in business school.
That’s because Patterson, like many graduate students at DU’s Daniels College of Business, entered his MBA program with a specific business idea in mind. For Patterson, that idea was Storm Peak Brewing Co., which he and his brother Tyler opened in Steamboat Springs, Colo., in June 2014.
“We had spent a long time in the garage, toiling away making beer, and when I decided to come to DU and get my MBA, there were a lot of classes and projects based around entrepreneurial stuff,” Wyatt Patterson says. “I took a business plan class, and I wrote the business plan for the brewery in the class. I spent the whole two years of grad school focused on learning how to run and manage this business.”
His dedication paid off—after two and a half years, Storm Peak already has plans to increase production and to enlarge its tasting room, which is one of just a few places in Steamboat for beer geeks to gather. Storm Peak quickly has become a favorite spot both for locals and for tourists in town during ski season.
“We really feel like we’re part of the community up there,” Patterson says. “We’re very involved in everything going on in the town. You don’t get that in a bigger city.”
In October, the Patterson brothers were in Denver for the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), one of the country’s largest beer fests and expos. It’s a chance for brewers to get their beers in front of new potential customers—and an opportunity for them to share stories and advice with other small breweries from around the country, many of which share the same struggles.
“It’s great seeing people who you might only see once a year during GABF. It’s good to connect back with them and see what’s going on in their world,” Wyatt says. “We’re all artists in our own right, so we enjoy sharing our product and talking about it. Everybody’s passionate about what they do.”