Brown notes that property taxes have risen 300 percent since 2015, and the move will save C Squared $12,000 per month on rent. “We were feeling a little burned out after struggling for five years to grow when most of our profit was going to pay the rent, which was ever-increasing,” the cider maker says, adding that he was also looking for a change of pace for himself.
While Brown was looking for potential properties outside of Denver, as fate would have it, a five-acre property with an old apple barn popped up. After an initial buyer fell through and it became available, Brown drove down that same day to put a bid on it over asking price. “It was perfect,” he says.
With the 5,750-square-foot barn, there will be other advantages in addition to saving money on rent. Brown says he will be able to expand production and distribution, grow cider apples on the property and have a more meaningful connection to the land and local agriculture.
C Squared will maintain its year-round Siren series: Nona, an off-dry bittersweet cider; Alma, a semi-sweet tart and floral cider; and Ginger, a medium-dry cider infused with fresh organic ginger root. “We will also be able to start doing more heirloom and small batch ciders,” Brown states.
The team is currently in the process of moving all equipment and cider production, with the goal of being up and running in Penrose by March 1, 2020. Brown is hoping that the retail and tasting room will be ready by May 1.
“We kind of did the opposite of what some cideries do. We started in the city, made a brand and then moved it out to the agriculture base,” Brown explains. But C Squared will remain on tap at the Rackhouse Pub, which occupies the mezzanine level of the RiNo building C Squared just vacated, and will continue to be distributed to restaurants, bars and liquor stores across the state.
Brown is no stranger to change. With more than twenty years in the beverage industry, he started out brewing beer at Left Hand Brewery, Oskar Blues and Wynkoop Brewing. The jump to cider was inspired by a desire to own his own business. “I saw it as a career change into an industry that had more room for growth,” he recalls.