Colorado Lending Source established its spot as Colorado’s top SBA 504 loan program administrator by 1994. No longer a grassroots start up, there were now twice as many members and a new outlook on the lending industry. Ron Reuss replaced Rudy Bianchi as Executive Directory and the board of directors prepared for Bill Unrie to move on from his position as president the following year.
With its new visibility, Colorado Lending Source became more involved in the community and began partnering with similar organizations like the Jefferson County Economic Council and the Small Business Development Center. Also in 1994, the Small Business Administration launched the Women’s Pre-Qualification Loan Pilot Program and selected Colorado Lending Source as one of the Intermediaries. This program was intended to increase the number of loans made to woman business owners by making it easier for them to access capital. As a result, Colorado Lending Source funded its first woman-owned small business loan, Rockies Brewing Company.
Rockies Brewing Company is better known as Boulder Beer Company. Founded in 1979 by two home brewing, University of Colorado professors, it is Colorado’s first microbrewery and the 43rd licensed brewery in the country. In 1990, Gina Day took the company private. In 1994 she used an SBA 504 loan from Colorado Lending Source and JPMorgan Chase to build an addition onto their Boulder brewery and purchase additional brewery equipment to produce 60,000 barrels a year.
Today, Colorado has over 200 microbreweries, but Boulder Beer Company remains one of the favorites. Despite the beer manufacturing industry being overwhelmingly male dominated, Gina reformulated the product line with a master brewer and has grown the company 600%. Furthermore, Ernst and Young awarded Gina their Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1994.
Boulder Beer still resides in the location Colorado Lending Source helped finance. The impressive brewery gives tours, has a pub, and features live music most nights of the week. It also boasts one of the best patios in the state. The 2,300 square foot outdoor space seats over 100 people and is decorated with hop-covered trellises, perfect for a summer day or an après ski stop. Boulder Beer produces eight year round flavors, 8 seasonal flavors, and distributes to 33 states.