Live each and every day as if it were a holiday.
That’s the timely ethos Karen Hertz, MBA ‘05 has sought to instill through her brewery, Holidaily Brewing Company, since she first opened its doors to customers in Golden, Colorado nearly five years ago. As a two-time cancer survivor, Hertz understood the importance of cherishing health and happiness, and to help preserve her health she had adopted a strict, gluten-free diet. Because most beers are made with barley and wheat—both of which contain gluten—that meant a drastically reduced choice of beers for Hertz, a Colorado native, former Coors executive, and general beer enthusiast.
But entrepreneurs see opportunity in exactly those kinds of challenges, and this is what led Hertz to establish the Holidaily brand. Today, it’s one of only 15 dedicated gluten-free breweries in the country.
Watch How Karen Hertz Built Her Business
A Winning Recipe
“It doesn’t have to taste bad,” Hertz replied, when asked what misconceptions people have about gluten-free beer. And Holidaily’s beer certainly does not taste bad—last year, their hazy IPA was awarded a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival. “Some people don’t even realize it’s gluten free. It’s just a great craft beer and it happens to be gluten free.”
With the help of brewer Connor Reeves, a 2015 graduate of CU Boulder, the winning recipe that was once limited to taproom tastings has been refined into Holidaily’s latest offering, Big Henry Hazy IPA, which is now available in cans for easier, safer distribution.
“[Big Henry] is the culmination of a pet project I’ve had at the brewery since 2018 to make a delicious, gluten-free, hazy IPA,” Reeves said. “It is very exciting to have a beer I have invested so much into finally be released to the public, and I am looking forward to hearing feedback on how Holidaily can keep improving.”
How Gluten-Free Beer Is Made
Traditionally, beer requires four main ingredients: water, yeast, hops, and grain. Water and hops are both gluten-free. Gluten-free varieties of yeast can be cultivated easily enough. But the grain can pose a challenge for brewers trying to produce a truly gluten-free beer.
At Holidaily, gluten-free millet and buckwheat take the place of wheat and barley. Millet and buckwheat are less efficient for fermenting, though, because more is required to get the same amount of sugar as would ordinarily come from wheat or barley (and sugar is what the yeast digests to produce alcohol). Holidaily’s grains are sourced locally, yet the sizes of the grains required Hertz to innovate upon standard brewing equipment. Millet and buckwheat are smaller than wheat or barley, so Hertz developed a custom, tighter…