The Steamboat Collective blends great taste with coffee, wine
Sommeliers Michael Lang and AJ Fossum have teamed up to create The Steamboat Collective, a new enterprise that will blend the great taste of Big Iron Coffee Co. during the day, with an upscale wine tasting venue in the evenings.
“We have an interesting business plan,” Lang said as he watched snowguns blow along the slopes of Steamboat Resort from the lounge area of The Collective on Friday morning. “Basically it’s a coffee shop during the morning, we do wine tastings in the afternoon, and we are a private club in the evenings.”
Lang, who worked as a sommelier at Harwigs and L’Apogee for more than 20 years, joined forces with Fossum, owner of Ski Town Wine and Spirits, to open The Collective. This summer, the two joined forces with Big Iron Coffee Co. owner Bowan Radkey to begin offering Big Iron’s coffee at The Collective, located at 1875 Ski Time Square Drive.
The Collective offers a cup of coffee from a locally owned roaster in the morning and tastings led by experienced sommeliers by afternoon. In the evening, the venue will be open to members or can be reserved for private events.
“I’ve always had a side business consulting for wine for my friends, and it was always pretty much a hobby,” Lang said. “Then during COVID, I got a phone call from a friend of mine. The concept was to expand my consulting business by doing a lot of online sales and moving wine, and we started looking for a spot.”
The Collective will operate as a coffee shop from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Led by head barista Colleen McNaught, the shop offers a selection of Big Iron coffee made fresh to order, as well as other items like bagels, pastries and selection from Mountain Waffle Co. There is also charcuterie, cheese, olives and a grab-and-go selection that includes mixed nuts, pistachios and macron truffled almonds.
After the coffee shops closes, customers can check out the calendar and reserve a spot for scheduled wine tastings that take place most afternoons.
“We’re super unique in the fact that we want to share our knowledge, we want to have fun and we’re on the cutting edge,” Lang said.
Fossum recently passed Court of Master Sommeliers levels 1 and 2 and has worked in several local restaurants, including Cottonwood Grill, Bistro C.V., Low Country Kitchen, Yama and Cloverdale. Andre Swanson, an experienced sommelier who was wine program creator and general manager of Sauvage, will also lend his experience to The Collective.
Wine featured in tastings is available for purchase at Ski Town Wine and Spirits.
“We cater everything because we don’t have a kitchen,” Lang said.
The Collective was born out of the wine consulting business Fifty 5 Degrees Steamboat, which Lang, Fossum and Swanson started. Fifty 5 Degrees consults and guides wine connoisseurs to the best selections, answers wine-related questions and helps the members of the club curate their perfect wine cellar.
With the addition of The Collective, Fifty 5 Degrees is hoping to expand their offerings and attract more members to the club.
“It’s a collection of like-minded business people who got together to execute a plan all on the same page,” Lang said.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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