One of the state’s newest breweries wants to make sure that the community – inside and outside of Maxline Brewing – is as healthy as can be. Alisha Lubben, Maxline’s director of culture, was hired to help make sure it happens. The Johnstown native is currently studying to become a certified Cicerone as she works to enhance the culture at the brewery, 2701 S. College Ave., in Fort Collins. One of her goals is to “inspire a culture that supports a community-first mindset and healthy work/life balance,” she says. “The Maxline brewing family is dedicated to donating 30 hours per month of our time and talents to local non-profits and sustainable farms.” Healthy employees are important too, she points out. “Each member of our team is scheduled with three days off in a row to enjoy friends, family, exploring the mountains, and of course, beer.”
Mitchell Nichols was born and raised in Boulder, where he started home brewing the summer after he graduated high school. His first two go-rounds turned out to be busts, but he struck gold on the third batch he crafted, which was a recipe for a stout that he created himself.
Nichols then went on to attend two different schools in the automotive mechanic industry, and struck a job as a transmission tech in his hometown. During his three-year stint as a mechanic, he met the owners of Front Range Brewing Company. At 21 years old, Nichols started as a volunteer at FRBC, and was offered the Head Brewer position seven months later. Nichols describes it as “a dream come true” to be perhaps the youngest head brewer
Whitney Ariss’ passion for food began when she was a child. Her family grew an array of fruits and veggies in their home garden, which they used for meals and snacks. After being talked out of going to culinary school by her family, Ariss decided to study music, another important part of her life. As she got closer to obtaining her music degree, she decided it was not what she saw herself doing long term, so she withdrew. After that adventure, she worked her way up the totem pole at Whole Foods and then at Marczyk Fine Foods, gaining experience in the food industry. Once she and her husband Obe realized they wanted to start a business, she unleashed her creativity as the culinary director of The Preservery, a seasonal bakery, eatery and marketplace that opened in RiNo this spring. Judging by its early success, all signs indicate she has found her calling.
JP Krause is more than willing to talk about his award-winning Squeal Rum that is made in Denver. But he and his wife Monika have a lot more to think about than rum, such as their two children, trips to the Denver Zoo, traveling, and being a “ballet dad,” says JP, a member of the Colorado Chef’s Association. “My wife and I are big on family and we run the business together.”
With a background in hospitality and as a chef at a local hospital, “you taste things differently than if you were a bartender,” he says. “I thought it would be fun to create a brand that brings balanced culinary flavors to a spirit in a fun way.”
As busy as life is, JP still has hopes to steal a few minutes to squeeze in a vacation. You might see the Krauses boarding a jet for Poland, where they have family, or Cuba, “before commercial hotel chains take over.”