Business #10…Keg Cap Tap, LLC.: Matt Ferris.

Business #9…Keg Cap Tap, LLC.: Matt Ferris.

Louisville, Colorado

303-499-2741

http://www.kegcaptap.com

Start Date: September 2009

I have decided that the Beer industries must be one of the friendliest and most helpful business communities out there. After speaking with Jay at Beer Clothing Co., he insisted that I talk to a few other upstarts in the brewery world. I am excited to tell you about one of them now: Matt Ferris of Keg Cap Tap.

I must be honest, I was a little bewildered when I heard the name, which totally messed with my curiosity. After getting the website, I had to immediately go see what this thing was. What I found was another great idea. Although it is marketed to a fairly small demographic (individuals with kegerators), I think this population will grow.

Talking with Matt, I just loved the story of how he started his business. So many business owners do what they do for the wrong reason, but not Matt, it is simple…LOVE. Not only does he love beer (let’s be honest, how many guys don’t), he loves everything about his business. It is about solving a problem, creating community, and helping our environment. Let me explain.

In college, Matt started brewing his own beer, and just enjoyed doing it. In 2005, he bought his first kegerator. He found that having beer on tap had quite a few benefits. First, it helped build community: because he always had beer, his friends knew it, and it was a natural hang out spot. Second, because he bought beer by the keg, instead of by the can or bottle, his beer cost was about half the price of buying bottles or cans. Third, because he bought kegs, he was buying a more environmentally friendly product; the only packaging they come with is this little keg cap, and the whole keg can be returned and reused.

As Matt continued to have friends come over, they would always have to ask what was on tap. Eventually, Matt was able to afford to buy a few $50 tap handles of his favorite brews, but it was always disappointing when guests would think he had something like Fat Tire, and it would turn out to be Coors Lite. On top of this, he noticed that he had started a collection of all the keg caps that came on the kegs; the caps keep any beer from accidentally spraying out of the mouth, and provide an identifier to what the keg contains.

In effort to help alleviate the beer confusion, Matt started to tape the keg caps up by the tap, to identify the brew of the day, but it was awkward, and then he had an idea. What if there was a way to display the cap on the tap handle? So Matt went to work on drawing up a prototype. Once he had what he thought would work, he took his drawing to a machine shop he regularly worked with on his job, and they were able to produce his invention. Matt brought the tap home, and it was an instant success. I can only imagine what that original party must have been like. Then Matt found himself making his Keg Cap Taps for all his friends, they just had to have one too.

So Matt has created the Keg Cap Tap. A keg tap that holds custom keg caps to display the beer on tap. It is marketed to individuals with kegerators (home keg taps that usually include a refrigerator and an external tap), home brewers, and small breweries. Due to the incredible expense of making a custom handle, Matt has realized that small breweries are unable to provide tap handles to bars and restaurants, so the Keg Cap Tap fills that void. Marketing expenses have been kept to a minimum. Matt has participated in a few beer festivals, uses Facebook, networks a ton, and hands out his business card to anyone who will take it.

The biggest struggle has simply been in the creating of a company. Matt was able to tap into his local Chamber of Commerce and get some support. It has been a challenge, but he admits that it has been very exciting and worth the ride. One of the biggest surprises has been the amount of support and help he has received from the brewery community. Folks have taken a lot of time to give advice and share their knowledge with him.

The fun part is that Matt never set out to become a business owner, it just evolved out of his love for beer, his community, and the environment. When we stay in our passions, and not just start a business to make money, we are always going to be more successful. Matt isn’t sure if he will ever quit his full time job, but is enjoying the adventure right now. He wants to see the business grow slowly, provide a quality product, and keep him plugged into his local community and a business community that he just loves.

Thank you Matt, I thoroughly enjoyed our time together, and hope you continue to follow your passions. One of these days I would love to come enjoy a pint with you.

Until we meet again:  plan, plant, and grow, but don’t forget to harvest.

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