First Craft Week ends in success with festival

Baristas from coffee shops throughout the Pikes Peak region brewed pour-over coffee from seven area roasters during the festival’s “roast-off” event, which was judged by attendees.

Baristas from coffee shops throughout the Pikes Peak region brewed pour-over coffee from seven area roasters during the festival’s “roast-off” event, which was judged by attendees.

The inaugural Colorado Springs Craft Week reached its peak Friday evening during the Crafter’s Festival, a sold-out signature event that brought together food and drink vendors from across the region.

Josiah Anthony, a barista at Cafe Velo, studies the quality of his brew during the coffee “roast-off.”

Josiah Anthony, a barista at Cafe Velo, studies the quality of his brew during the coffee “roast-off.”

The Crafter’s Festival, which kicked off Friday afternoon at Venue 515 in Manitou Springs, attracted a variety of participating businesses, including 11 breweries, seven coffee roasters, three distilleries, two food trucks, artists and crafters and three live bands to keep the party going until 9 p.m.

“I think it went really well,” said Aly Hartwig, the event’s organizer and assistant brewer at Pikes Peak Brewing Co. “Overall, it was a lot more than I was expecting — from business participation to the number of events and the effort the businesses put into being a part of it.”

Breweries present at the event were Bristol Brewing Co., Pikes Peak Brewing Co., Red Leg Brewing Co., Rock Bottom Brewery, Smiling Toad Brewery and Paradox Beer Co.

Also participating were up-and-coming breweries Fieldhouse Brewing Co., Fossil Brewing Co., Lofty Brewing Co., Manitou Brewing Co., and Nano 108 Brewing Co.

Coffee roasters, which also participated in a “roast-off,” included SwitchBack Coffee Roasters, Pour House Coffee Roasters in Florence, Mission Coffee Roasters and R&R Coffee Café in Black Forest, Colorado Coffee Merchants, Cafe Leo in Woodland Park and Urban Steam Coffee Cafe.

Roaster Seth Fuller with Urban Steam won the “roast-off.”

Pig Latin and Potato Potato provided food truck fare while local bands Spiral Lion, Aaah Real Monsters and Here’s to Fightin’ performed sets in the outdoor section of the space.

Radiantly Raw owners Jacquie and Allan Mosher said their chocolate sales more than doubled during Craft Week.

Radiantly Raw owners Jacquie and Allan Mosher said their chocolate sales more than doubled during Craft Week.

“I was really thrilled about it,” said Jacquie Mosher, who owns Colorado Springs-based chocolate company Radiantly Raw with her husband Allan. “We were connected with tons of other businesses to work together and collaborate. It definitely exceeded our expectations.”

Mosher said that it wasn’t just a great way to gain exposure, but the couple also saw a 250-percent increase in sales during the week. Craft Week also gave these businesses a chance to pair their products and get creative in doing so. Mosher mentioned that Fossil actually brewed a Radiantly Raw beer for an event, while the business partnered with Brewer’s Republic to offer beer and chocolate flight pairings.

“It was just so fantastic to see what they could do with our product — everyone was connected and working together,” she said.

The festival’a idea was to highlight established as well as up-and-coming local brewers, allowing local beer enthusiasts a chance to sample a variety of beers.

The festival’s idea was to highlight established as well as up-and-coming local brewers, allowing local beer enthusiasts a chance to sample a variety of beers.

Hartwig said the team has not yet been able to “sit down and calculate the total funds raised,” which will benefit Pikes Peak Urban Gardens, Colorado Springs Public Market, Colorado Farm and Art Market and Venetucci Farm’s Raise the Barn campaign.

“The main goal is to help build support for the local craft businesses and highlight what they’re doing and the product they’re creating for the community — and bring them business,” Hartwig said.

With 65 businesses participating in the region’s first craft week — and more than 300 in attendance at the week’s signature event — Hartwig said that she has high hopes for the future of the event.

“I had so many people come up to me and ask, “This will be happening next year, right? We can’t wait,’ ” Hartwig said.