Mike's Draft

How It All Started Part I

Elevate Your Passion single blog post

How It All Started Part I

Flagstaff, Arizona


This is not only my first blog post for Elevate Your Passion, but my first blog post period! I thought it was appropriate to share the journey that has brought this company (and myself) to where we are. Also, one caveat…I am not an accomplished writer, nor do I have an editor. I am simply a passionate adventurer and beer lover telling my story. So, while I have spell check to help out, please forgive my spelling, grammar, and general bad writing skills.

This post may be a little lengthy (so I broke it up in two parts) but I felt it was important to accurately convey how I got here. I will try to post once a month but business happens!

You are going to hear me repeat three words very often…people, passion, community. These are the things I am most passionate about. Yes, I love great craft beer and the outdoors, however it is the PEOPLE, PASSION, and the COMMUNITIES that truly inspires me.

I had dreamed of owning my own brewpub for a very long time. By owning my own pub, I thought I would get to intertwine all of my passions into my own business. Who doesn’t want that! So in 2011, my wife and I took the plunge and purchased a struggling restaurant property in Durango, CO. We were then as we are now, living in Arizona, but I have a strong passion for the mountains and outdoors. We previously had a long history of visiting Durango, and had many great friends there…so why not!

I won’t get into the many details of that venture, except for those that relate to today. I wanted a name and theme that resonated with what I was “feeling”. I also wanted it to be bigger than a geographical area, as many brewpubs are named after. So, we named the company Mountain Madness Brewing Company. I also wanted a tagline that described our mission, and I came up with Elevate Your Passion. Our beers and theme would be centered around the outdoors, and the passion that people have for their pursuits.

Someone once asked me why I was “doing all this”. Moving to Colorado, starting a business, etc? To me it was obvious…again the word passion. Wherever you happen to get your inspiration, or feel your spiritual connection, most people have a place. Mine has always been the solitude of the wilderness, and especially the mountains. I have friends that feel the same about the ocean, lakes, and rivers. That’s the cool part! More on this later, as it is central to this company.

If you have never hiked above treeline in the Colorado Rockies, you are really missing something. No picture can come close to the feeling of actually being there. It evokes such a strong feeling in me that it’s hard to explain. Once, while walking on a ridge above the treeline in the San Juan Mountains, north of Durango, I said “why not”! I truly believe in not living life with regrets, and I never want to be lying on my deathbed thinking “I wish I would have…” You fill in your blanks – but for me it was crystal clear at that point. I had always dreamed of living in a small mountain town, owning a brewpub, walking to work with my dogs…yep, I was doing it!

Whether a dream works out or not, is not the point here. It’s the pursuit of that dream that makes us human…and isn’t that amazing?

For a myriad of business reasons, we never got past the restaurant phase, and failed to create the brewery. After three years of 16 hour days (while balancing our “day” jobs) with the hope of breaking even, we made the decision to close the “restaurant”. To be perfectly honest, it didn’t take me long after opening to realize that I had lost control of what I really wanted. My idea of a small brewery with a tasting room, quickly turned into a full-blown restaurant operation, and the daily requirements in order to pay the bills destroyed any possibility to change the direction of that ship, much less install brewing equipment.

I don’t regret a minute of the experience, since we learned more than any MBA in Business Management could ever teach us. We met so many wonderful people in the process, many of which we still call friends today…including many of our employees!

Well, it only took about a year off, after we closed the restaurant in 2014, to get my creative juices flowing. We moved back to Arizona (our day jobs were there) and I started evaluating what I had really wanted back in 2011, and what I wanted today. Surprisingly they were very similar! The word “passion” always came back to me. Our tagline (which was on all of our shirts) always got a great reaction. Bam!! Elevate Your Passion wasn’t a tagline it was THE business! So, late in 2015 – I created a new LLC (business) in Arizona, and Elevate Your Passion, the company, was born. I quickly transferred my trademarks to the new company and began the planning.

See ya next month!

Til then…Fill Up On Life!

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