Longtime Longmont residents Dan and Jean Ditslear opened 300 Suns Brewing more than seven years ago. For the couple, the brewery’s success is attributed to staying true to itself over the years.
Before 300 Suns Brewing, the Ditslears would take clients of their graphic design firm Red Wall Communications out for a coffee or beer for meetings — beer being the preferred beverage. At the time, Longmont didn’t have as robust of a craft brewery scene as it does today. The Ditslears started wondering what it would be like to have another brewery in town.
Through Red Wall Communications and working with people in the city, the couple was already involved with Longmont’s community, Jean said.
“We were well-connected to the community to start with, so it felt like an extension of our connection to the community to open the brewery,” she said.
The name 300 Suns is an ode to the saying that Colorado sees 300 days of sunshine each year. The Ditslears, being from less-sunny Ohio, wanted to give a nod to what they love about the state they’ve called home for more than 20 years.
They opened up the brewery and tap room at 335 1st Ave Unit C with a handful of recipes. Dan is 300 Suns’ brewer and refers to himself as “the director of hoppiness and happiness.” He said in the first year 300 Suns was open, he brewed a couple batches every week, coming up with new recipes. Today, there are more than 30 recipes that the brewery rotates between.
Jean said 300 Suns’ goal is to have something for everyone whether they like lagers, ales, porters or stouts. Something the Ditslears love to do at craft breweries is order a flight sample full of different beers and they like encouraging customers to do the same, Jean said.
“We want to maintain that experience for people just being able to try different styles and talk about them. And have a conversation about what flavors they like, and how things taste different when you have it with food, and just all those fun conversations you can have when you try different styles of beer,” Jean said. “And also to educate them on different styles too.”
Currently, 300 Suns has 12 original brews on tap. To align with their mission to have something for every palette, the drink menu offers wines, ciders, non-alcoholic beers and cocktails, mostly sourced from local businesses.
Just like how the Ditslears like to connect with others over a drink, they want customers to find community and conversations in the 300 Suns tasting room.
The focus, of being a hang out spot, has kept the Ditslears from retailing their beer. Dan said they made a conscious decision to stay true to themselves and avoid major manufacturing.
“Every time someone would ask us, ‘Why aren't you canning? Why aren’t you bottling, I want to take this home,” we were like, but that doesn't feel right, like that just isn't true to why we went into this business,” Jean said. “We just like that personal connection more and that sense of community was more important to us.”
However, customers can take a freshly poured 32 ounce can to-go and 300 Suns’ brews sell at some local establishments.
Over the years, the Ditslears had to be flexible with changes in the business. Early on, their business partner and lead brewer died. During COVID restrictions, they had to restructure their model to accommodate to-go services and nearly doubled their patio capacity when outdoor seating became necessary.
About a year and a half ago, 300 Suns added a kitchen and partnered with Nate Say of Burger Nomad, recently rebranded from Scratch Food Truck. Say was a customer for several years before running the kitchen, regularly making it to 300 Suns after work, right before the brewery closed to have a chat and beer with Dan.
“It's been really fun you know, like, coming in and seeing, enjoying all the good beers and everything they had built before that,” Say said. “And then being a part of the next phase of the journey where we grew it even bigger and did fun things, and it's been really neat.”
For the trio, the addition of a food menu lets customers have a new experience. Say said one of his favorite food pairings is the Nashville Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich with the Blood Orange White IPA. Burger Nomad still operates the food truck and plans on adding a pizza trailer sometime in the fall.
Though 300 Suns has changed over the years, Dan said they’ve learned “where to grow and where not to grow.” The Ditslears attribute their seven-goes around the sun to not falling for industry trends and staying true to their mission: be a place to connect over a beer.