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Denver’s River North Arts District has quickly established itself as a premier destination in Denver’s thriving culinary and libations scene. Playing host to some of the Mile High City’s most creative and inspiring breweries, cafes, and foodie hangouts, RiNo is no doubt an ideal place to open a new business.

At the heart of this coterie sits Ratio Beerworks, a place that channels the creativity of the music industry with the craft of German brewing.

I had the opportunity to talk recently with two of the three Ratio Beerworks co-founders, Zach Lowery and Jason zumBrunnen. As we chatted over a cold lime Gose (brewed in collaboration with Denver band “The Knew”), Zach and Jason were kind enough to share some keen insight on the backstory of Ratio, their path to success, and the team’s plans for their future.

Enjoy the Loki Media exclusive below.

The Start

“We all came together through music. Scott [Kaplan] and I were both in bands and Zach ran a record label in California that was distributed through a record label in Denver that we part of. We all had a common bond through beer, even though music is what brought us together.” – Jason

Jason is from Colorado originally, but relocated to California for music. In 2009, he decided he wanted to return home to start working full-time in the brewing industry. Jason attended brewing school in Chicago and Germany, then made his move back to Denver in 2010. Upon his return, he met with Zach and Scott to start formulating the idea to open a brewery.

The Influence of the Music Industry

“Beer is this glue that binds us together. Especially music, any event that you are going to in social situations, enjoying art or music, beer is this common denominator that drives the group together.” – Jason

According to Zach, coming from the “Do-It-Yourself” independent music industry made for an easy transition into Denver’s craft brewing scene. He says it’s a very similar feel, where you’re running everything yourselves and watching it grow at the same time.

“It comes full circle. Beer is the motivator of this brewery, but now we are pulling music back into the brewery.” – Jason

RiNo Neighborhood

The founders always wanted to be an urban brewery with a lot of foot traffic. The building and spacious outdoor patio was an ideal set up in a neighborhood that is growing quickly.

“We are really into coffee and saw a lot of it’s success in this area. We are seeing people moving in and really appreciating and supporting the craft brewing scene.” – Zach

“We are pumped to see more residential buildings moving into RiNo. That leads to a sustainable neighborhood. Even though it’s a competitive area with lots of options, many people are moving here so it will be a denser neighborhood in time.” – Jason

Collaborations

Some of Ratio’s most delicious beers are collaborations, both with local businesses and the local music scene. As I enjoyed the lime Gose collaboration with the band “The Knew”, Zach and Jason discussed the importance of such collaborations and some of their most recent creations.

NOVO ROASTERS is right up the street, we know them through the community and we get their cold brew and infuse it into our scotch ale. The owners live two houses down from me, and Jason’s son goes to school with their daughter.” – Zach

“We brewed the lime Gose with the band [The Knew] and put their album download card on the outside of the bottle. They did their release show on the patio and we had over 200 people show up for a really cool night.” – Zach

"The Knew" brews a lime Gose at Ratio. Photo: Ratio Beerworks on Facebook
“The Knew” brews a lime Gose at Ratio. Photo: Ratio Beerworks on Facebook

Jason says they plan on many more collaborations within the music industry, not only because music is at their roots, but because they can tie it in further by doing novel things such as having the musicians come in to brew the beer themselves, putting their music on the download card on the bottles, and having album release shows on location.

Jason and Zach say they have plans in place for more music collaborations, with some exciting news just released in November.

The sky is the limit for Jason, Zach, and the innovative Ratio Beerworks team. Stop on by 2920 Larimer Street for an original beer in a highly distinctive, thoroughly iviting environment.

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