July Business of the Month: Altitude Chophouse & Brewery – a fresh concept and community asset
During Jubilee Days in 1999, Altitude Chophouse and Brewery was thought up by owners Karen Robillard and Greg Smith. The Downtown Development Authority wanted to fill an empty restaurant location and reached out the owners of Lovejoy’s Bar & Grill.
“In 1999, we had a very successful business model in Lovejoy’s Bar & Grill. Expanding by adding Altitude into the mix allowed us to provide more variety and a different concept to the community” said Vice President Karen Robillard. “It was Jubilee Days weekend, nineteen years ago, when we said ‘let’s do this.’”
The day-to-day operations at the restaurant and brewery has evolved into more than what the Chophouse and Brewery name implies. Altitude also caters both food and bar service on and off-site. In addition to trained chefs and front of the house staff, they also employ various managers and event planners. Robillard recognizes that their employees are the heart of Altitude Chophouse & Brewery.
“Recognition on local, regional and national levels is a testament to the dedication and expertise of our employees,” said Robillard.
Altitude Chophouse and Brewery earned the 2012 Better Business Bureau (BBB) Torch Award for Ethics for the Northern Colorado and Wyoming region, the most prestigious honor the BBB can present to a business.
“It was an amazing honor to be recognized in this capacity,” said Robillard, “we value our employees, our community and our guests. In the end, that’s what it’s all about.”
In addition to winning the BBB Torch Award, Altitude has received multiple accolades for its quality microbrews.
“Our brewery staff is truly amazing. We received our second World Beer Cup gold medal this year. This competition is the most celebrated beer contest in the world,” said Robillard.
The worldwide beer competition takes place every two years. In 2018, over 2,500 breweries from 66 countries entered beers to be judged. Altitude also won a gold medal at the World Beer Cup in 2014. In addition to these awards, the brewery has received various medals at the well-known Great American Beer Festival and the North American Beer Awards.
“We had a record year at the NABA in 2017, bringing home more medals than any brewery in the United States,” said Robillard. “Those wins definitely put Laramie on the map.”
While the brewery is busy winning national competitions, Altitude’s green wall has garnered national attention for the restaurant.
“Our green wall was featured in a national restaurant trade magazine last year,” said Robillard.
“The green wall ties in well with the concepts we are creating at Altitude. Obviously, our beer is an amazing fresh product,” said Robillard. “And, our kitchen also works hard to create a hand crafted menu with homemade breads, soups, sauces and desserts. The fresh element of the green wall pairs nicely.”
Produce from the exterior green wall can be found seasonally on weekly special items. The bar takes advantage of fresh mint and other herbs in their recipes, as well. The appeal of the wall works to attract customers into the restaurant.
“I love our green wall. It’s a great marketing piece from the exterior,” said Robillard. “With the push towards the farm to table concept, our guests can see our dedication to providing fresh and local food items when possible.”
Outside of the restaurant, Robillard and the Altitude Chophouse and Brewery staff are seen at various local events donating time, services, food, beer and more.
Robillard has been involved with the Laramie community for 21 years. She has always served on local boards. Currently, she serves on the Laramie Main Street Alliance Board of Directors and she has been helping to coordinate the Downtown Laramie Brewfest since its inception.
“The Brewfest is in thirteenth year,” said Robillard. "It has grown exponentially over the years and has become a Jubilee Day’s tradition. The event nets upwards of $35,000 annually to be used for specific downtown enhancements. This year’s money will benefit the 3rd Street improvements.”
Robillard believes that volunteering time and donating to the community is part of what being a business owner is all about. “Laramie has been good to us,” said Robillard. “We enjoy being able show our appreciation by giving back.”
The Laramie Chamber Business Alliance would like to recognize Altitude Chophouse and Brewery as July Business of the Month. To find out more about the business you can visit them online at altitudechophouse.com.