When two young immigrants met at a party in 2006 over beers, a pioneer in the Colorado craft brewing scene was born. And Danny and Betty Wang have built something special since that fateful day with friends in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Both avid lovers of quality brew, Danny, a Taiwanese transplant, and Betty, a German immigrant, found kindred spirits in each other. Together, they enjoyed a cold, frosty beer (as most people do), but while on a brewery tour in 2005, lightning struck… and the craft beer world would soon see a bright new flavor (many flavors, actually).
Using a home brew kit Danny received as a gift years earlier, Danny and Betty rolled up their sleeves and started their first batch. Another starter kit followed and the adventurous couple brewed their first all-grain beer. They found that working with all-grain allows for greater flexibility in recipe creation and they began to experiment. Soon, they were ready to unveil their beer to their social circle and brought some to a birthday party. It was an instant hit.
Emboldened, Danny and Betty joined Foam on the Range homebrew club where they were given valuable feedback, advice, and education in the art of brewing. The couple soon entered their first beers into some local contests and were rewarded with many awards and accolades.
All the while, Danny continued as an IT systems administrator in the advertising industry and Betty was an operations manager for a German engineering firm. They weren’t nearly to a point where they were willing and able to give up their day jobs, but the brews were starting to shift from hobby to business.
In June 2009, the couple registered CAUTION: Brewing Company, LLC with the Colorado Secretary of State. Literally throwing caution to the wind, they refused to adhere to strict style guidelines and instead added secret Asian spices, chrysanthemum, or other wild ingredients to their beer in order to create unique and flavorful brews.
In August of the same year, with the help of craft brewing legend, Doug Odell, Danny and Betty purchased the Odell Brewing Company’s original five-barrel brew house, which then sat in their back yard, since there was no brewery in which to house it. That changed in January 2010, when CAUTION moved into its first location; a 900 square-foot facility in Denver.
2011, the Year Things Really Got Cooking
Danny had entrepreneurial inspiration from his parents, who came to the United States from Taiwan, and after many years of hard work, opened the now highly successful Lao Wang Noodle House. It is no surprise that CAUTION’s first beer was sold at the restaurant on Father’s Day in 2011. Danny’s father was not only a model of hard work and dedication, he had a hand in the now award-winning brew, Lao Wang Lager, since he was the one who gifted Danny and Betty with a sack of the secret ingredient; a confidential blend of warm Asian spices which gives the beer a unique flavor not found in other beers. A second, but no less important, milestone that year was Danny and Betty’s wedding. Assuredly, a fine time was had by all who attended the nuptials of the rising brew stars.
In August 2011, Lao Wang Lager and Honey Matrimony Brown won big at the Jefferson County Beer Festival and things began to really heat up. Press abounded and there were many articles about and interviews with the young brewers. Word of mouth was strong.
Expansion is Afoot
More awards followed in 2012, with “Best Lager” and “Best of Show” at Jefferson County Beer Festival and the bronze medal at the Foam Fest in Pueblo for their Big Bunny CDA. As the distribution grew to a handful of restaurants, press was generating a great deal of interest in CAUTION and its beer. Danny and Betty saw this as the perfect time to expand and add a public taproom to the original location. Despite the out of the way location, people were eager to visit and taste for themselves what all the hubbub was about.
By 2013, demand had grown enough to warrant a second tap room, dubbed CAUTION: West. Danny and Betty decided to open a custom building in Lakewood, Colorado, which would be a more convenient and highly trafficked location than the original, now known as CAUTION: East. The year continued to be good to them with more awards and by year’s end, the couple was confident enough to quit their day jobs and finally devote all their time to their business. In addition to the new location, Danny and Betty decided it was time to make the leap into canning their beers for on the go Coloradans, and invested in the necessary equipment.
Financing to Grow
To do this, the couple needed capital beyond what they could cover on their own. Small business financing was the only way to achieve their goals but they found what many other before them have; banks are wary of young businesses and loans can be difficult to attain. CAUTION had taken some expensive financing and wanted to pay that off in addition to financing the planned expansion. Danny was determined to find a better source of small business lending and found it with direct lender Dealstruck. After doing web research, Danny was convinced that this was a good possibility for their needed business financing and gave them a call.
Dealstruck has a mission to provide small business owners with unique, appropriate, and affordable capital with honesty and transparency. Dealstruck was able to work with CAUTION to offer a $35,000 term loan at 18% APR with easy to manage, fixed monthly payments. This capital infusion enabled Danny and Betty to finalize their second location, CAUTION: West, see their plans for a new line of canned beers come to fruition, and pay off much more expensive debt. Having consistent repayment terms allows Danny and Betty to manage their business finances responsibly and they are now able to continue focusing on the pursuit of their dream.
Dealstruck congratulates CAUTION: Brewing Company on its successes to date and is proud to be a part of that growing brand. Cheers to another year of great beer!