Earlier this month, the VVP honored the Vail, Colo.-based brewery as the Mid-Size Business of the Year, an award given to a company that demonstrates ethical business practices, professionalism, and strong community involvement. It marks the third consecutive year that the VVP has honored Crazy Mountain, which was also named Small Business of the Year in 2011, and Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012.
“There’s a lot of really successful small business,” said Kevin Selvy, Crazy Mountain CEO and brewmaster. “And to be recognized three years in a row is certainly special to us, and I think it speaks volumes that people are starting to take notice of the craft brewing industry as not just something that’s producing good beer.”
Nominated by colleagues and peers in the Vail area, Crazy Mountain used distribution agreements to enter eight new states last year: Florida, California, Texas, Oregon, Minnesota, Ohio, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. This year, Crazy Mountain began distributing in New Mexico and the Chicago area, and has plans to enter North Carolina. The brewery also built new production facilities, allowing it to increase 17-fold; it produced 6,100 barrels last year. Selvy said that he expects that number to reach around 12,500 barrels in 2013.
“We want to build our brand in all the corners of the country,” he said.
Crazy Mountain also plans to export beer to Singapore by May. Such rapid expansion amid a stagnant economy, Selvy believes, caught the eye of voters for the award.
“I think it was kind of a breath of fresh air for people to see a business that was growing and not contracting,” he said.
Bob Groux, founder and CEO of Coast Brands Group, which represents Crazy Mountain in presentations to retailers and distributors, said that with good, diverse beers, a strong location, a positive attitude, a comprehensible identity and an experienced brewmaster, Crazy Mountain delivers a complete package worthy of such an award.
“It’s really starting to move,” Groux said of the brewery. “We’re getting lots of calls and requests for the brand.”
Selvy noted that his brewery has established itself as the local beer in the Vail area, partly because of its efforts to support local non-profit organizations. He believes that establishing that local feel can resonate with a consumer base and catalyze growth.
“Communities need breweries and breweries need communities,” Selvy said. “If you’re going to be a successful brewery, you have to really care about and nurture the health of your local community.”