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The Beverage Industry

Those working in the beverage industry have one thing in common—a passion for the work they do! Now with COVID-19, they are adapting to this new world.

After college, Filipino-American Tiana Karnopp found her calling when she created the Fortune Tealer before turning 21.

She built the business on three basic principles: holistic, herbal and healing wellness.

“I intuitively was guided to put herbs together that meshed well together,” said Karnopp, who started making her own herbal tea when she moved into her first apartment back in 2017.

Tea is big

According to recent statistics by Statista Market Forecast, tea is the second most widely consumed beverage globally, following only water.

After graduating from Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Karnopp handcrafted quality tea with intention and purpose. She points out different flavors such as hibiscus berry is a natural method of managing blood pressure and reducing cholesterol, while green tea is ideal for focus and reduction of anxiety.

Other examples include peppermint for mood and chamomile for relaxation. Karnopp shared her research, learning how to mix and create the right juxtaposing of flavors.

Online business

While she mostly sells online, she also receives orders through referrals and word of mouth. She is learning how to use social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to spread the word about her tea business. Before the pandemic, Karnopp was job hunting. However, the pandemic allowed her to focus on building her business online while quarantining at home with family.

“It was God’s timing,” she said. “Everything just fell into place.”

And Karnopp might have found the next big thing. In 2018, China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Indonesia were among the main tea producers. With the growing popularity of tea, It’s no wonder how consumers can find such a wide selection of tea both in stores and online.

Pilipino-American Kryszelda Mendoza is a part of the tour guide crew at Laws Whiskey House in Denver, where she teaches the history of bourbon. It isn’t just a job for Mendoza; it feeds her curiosity about bartending.

“The tour is more in-depth and educational than other whiskey tours,” she said. “We talk about the history of whiskey, process and fermentation, how to make whiskey, and give a chalkboard demonstration.”

During COVID-19, Laws Whiskey House paused their tours and in-person events.

(Laws Whiskey House

An interest in science

Teaching comes natural to her because during the weekdays, Mendoza is the assistance principal for a middle school called Denver School of Science and Technology. She taught ninth grade physics for Chicago Public Schools.

More than five years ago, Mendoza was dabbling in the art of mixology as a hobby. Since she taught science, she loved the idea of mixing flavors with different types of alcohol. “The science of it fascinated me,” she said.

Sake, an alcoholic drink traditionally used for solemn rituals in Japan, is becoming a favored, quintessential drink of choice around trendy bars in metropolitan cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Denver.

The ancient brew provides a light taste of vodka or could be compared as a “decaf” tequila.

More than 500 sake breweries are operating in Japan with dozens in the United States. And there is one in Denver, the Colorado Sake Company.

William Stuart, owner of Colorado Sake Company, indicated the tasting room offers 12 different sakes on tap.

Colorado was selected as a desirable location, not just for its majestic mountains, but for the water. “Colorado water is similar to the water in Japan, Stuart said. “We have soft mountain water runoff, which fits sake brewing extremely well.”

Make a lot of sake

Those who enjoy sake can bring their friends and family curious to this tasting room. Colorado Sake Company increases awareness of its sake products through weekly brewery tours and participation in local wine/beer festivals throughout the state.

The operation produces 6,000 liters of sake each month, dedicating half to its tasting room and the other 50 percent to local restaurants and liquor stores. Production keeps increasing because of great demand. By November, operations expect a production of 10,000 liters.

“We make a LOT of sake,” Stuart said.


Based in the RiNo Arts District, the sake tasting room complements the 17 breweries, two cideries and two wineries in the artsy neighborhood, just minutes away from downtown Denver.

“This neighborhood seemed like a perfect fit for a sake brewery, since we are different from the other establishments and the consumers are into local craft beverages,” he said.


Like all concerts, festivals and annual events, the Great American Beer Fes (GABF) is cancelled, opting for a virtual event. Considered one of the largest beer festivals in the U.S., the virtual event will be two days instead of three days.

Owner and founder of Comrade Brewing Company David Lin is crossing his fingers that regular beer aficionados continue to support GABF by experiencing the virtual platform. “I hope that people have bought a GABF Passport and make their own beer festival,” he said. “Colorado has been called the ‘Napa Valley of Beer’.”

There are more than 300 breweries in the state and the GABF is a great way to check out something new.

Despite the strict regulations on social distancing in the brewery, Comrade Brewing Company is packed with brew lovers. But Lin is seeing some challenges operating during COVID-19 times.

“It’s completely different, we’re operating at 25 percent capacity, now offer table service, shortened the hours and there has been a lot of cleaning,” he said.

“It’s stressful to keep up with the ever-changing rules and I think everyone has some fatigue about the social distancing requirements.”

“We’re all working very hard to provide a safe and friendly taproom experience.”

Lin recommends ordering the 2019 GABF Gold Medal Superpower IPA, adding that it’s the brewery’s number one seller and always on tap.

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