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This week’s podcast is different from most. A couple weeks ago, I drove down to Colorado Springs to catch up with Jess and Rich Fierro of Atrevida Beer. Jess was the winner of Season One of the Vice TV show Beerland, and they went on to open their small community-focused brewery in 2018. From the start, Atrevida proudly embraced the slogan “Diversity, it’s what’s on tap,” and over the past five years they’ve lived it—women brewers have outnumbered men in their brewhouse by a ratio of about four-to-one. Atrevida would make an interesting case study all on its own, but the night of November 19, 2022, brought them national attention for completely different reasons.
Jess, Rich, their daughter Kassy, her longtime boyfriend Raymond, and other friends were celebrating a birthday at Club Q in Colorado Springs when a gunman attacked the club, killing five and injuring another 19 before Rich—who retired with the rank of major after 15 years in the Army—charged, disarmed, and subdued the gunman. Raymond was one of the five people killed.
That incident isn’t what this podcast is about. In this episode, we discuss what’s happened since then. Jess, Rich, and Kassy all still work at the brewery. It’s a small business, and they’re isn’t any magical mechanism that automatically keeps the brewery going when an unthinkable tragedy strikes. The outpouring of support for them was intense, and the backlash was also intense. Suddenly, they were thrust into a national spotlight while also having to process such a traumatic personal event. Even now, a few who ostensibly wanted to show support have been harassing them over something as trivial as a delay in shipping T-shirts.
However, as you’ll hear in this conversation, Jess and Rich are special people. We cover a range of subjects, from making creative beers that connect through diverse flavors, to running a values-centered business, and on to managing a business through trauma with all the ups and downs that come with it. Their story is an inspiring one.
This episode is brought to you by:
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