Karen Hertz, founder of the gluten-free brewery, Holidaily Brewing, went against the grain and turned her personal struggles into a success story.
After being diagnosed with melanoma in 2007 and thyroid cancer in 2008, doctors urged that Hertz implement a gluten-free diet. For years she had worked at MillerCoors and beer had become a big part of her life. Hertz realized she would have to devise an alternative solution to continue in the field she loved. That’s when she decided to create Holidaily Brewing, located in Golden, Colorado.
Hertz says that Holidaily – which celebrates how every day should be a holiday – is a combination of her education, work life and personal life. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Denver with an MBA in entrepreneurial studies and had 10 years of experience working in the beer industry. She noticed that gluten-free beer alternatives were limited, and the quality of those options were incomparable to the traditional craft beer to which she was accustomed. She also began to think of others who suffer from Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity that must follow a similar diet.
In 2016, after extensive research and testing, she officially launched Holidaily Brewing. The company currently has three breweries in Colorado and distributes to eight different states. Holidaily now has 10 beers on tap that are all certified gluten-free.
“There’s not a lot of variety with gluten-free beers, and we want to provide that,” said Hertz. The company has four year-round beers: Favorite Blonde, Fat Randy’s IPA, Bing Henry Hazy IPA and Stout. They also produce several seasonal beers, including a pumpkin beer for the fall, a red ale for the winter and a whit style beer for the spring and summer.
“My goal is to give people back a piece of their social life,” explained Hertz. “I can’t tell you how many people have thanked me for creating this brand so they can feel included and be happy.”
Holidaily beer is offered in nearly all the major stadiums in Denver. They are also on tap at more than 65 different breweries because most don’t offer their own gluten-free beer. “We want people to feel included at tailgates, sporting events and après ski. We are finding that there is a demand, so we will continue to distribute,” she said.
In addition to improving the social lives of many, Hertz is also making strides as a female face in a male-dominated market. There are over 9,000 craft breweries in the United States, and only 17 are dedicated to gluten-free beer, she told Beyondish. Of those 17, only two are certified. Additionally, only 3% of breweries are women-owned. Hertz said Holidaily is the only certified, women-owned, gluten-free beer company and her goal is to become the leader in this category.
She also hopes that starting this company motivates women in predominantly male-dominated markets.
As for the future, Hertz plans to continue to dig roots in the territories in which she currently operates. She also plans to continue to experiment with new flavors, ensuring that those who need to drink gluten-free beer never feel like they’re missing out.
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