Brewery Spotlight: Outer Range Brewing Co.
“The brewer’s worst nightmare, what keeps people awake at night, is if something bad is happening in the tank or customer has your beer and has a bad experience. When that happens, the whole world turns upside down as a brewer.” - Lee Cleghorn, Owner
Outer Range Brewing is a small brewery in Frisco, CO that has become well known for great IPAs, regular can releases, and gorgeous views. Adventures out of state usually result in someone asking “have you tried Outer Range?!! They are so good!” or a quick glimpse of an ORB shirt. We hadn’t caught up with Owner Lee Cleghorn since our Collaboration Fest testing hustle, so we were surprised to have had them reach out to us. It turns out some customers had commented on a Belgian-ish flavor in some of the IPAs over the weekend. Sensory confirmed this on Monday, but more needed to be done.
“What we did was we had some beers that were warming up that we left warm for quality control purposes… diastaticus turned the beer pretty quickly. So we just sent every sample we had of every beer in a can, in the fermenter, in the brite tank down to Fermly which does lab work for small breweries like ours and we stopped selling the beer immediately.
We didn’t want to put out information before we knew exactly what it was. We thought it was diastaticus but I didn’t want to put out that it was diastaticus until we knew that it was diastaticus. They came back Tuesday night/Wednesday morning with all the lab results and we put out a post on social media. Told the whole thing about what happened and the thing about bad news is that it doesn’t get better with time.”
Making great beer isn’t easy, but to have great beers and still be willing to acknowledge openly that something went wrong is phenomenal. It says a lot about Lee and his team that they posted on social media and were accountable for what happened, but what matters more is the community support as a result of their honesty.
“We were really humble because the response was actually incredibly positive from our customers. I can’t tell you how humbling that was because we take such great pride as every brewer does, as every beer you put out there you just have everything behind and you think about the recipes for so long. There is so much hard work and all the production staff, the bartenders, people on the canning line to put these things out so you really care about that product.”
Lee and his team worked hard to get back on track. The next time we spoke with them, they had been brewing through the night. In the end, he describes magnificently why he took this so seriously:
“At the end of the day, all you care about is giving your customers a great experience. I like to think that our customers, we have transactions with them, but we don’t have a transactional relationship with them. That’s not what this is about. We have a social contract; a trust relationship. They come in here, sacrifice their time, and their money for our beer and we love them and they love our beer.”
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