To say Danielle Brooks is busy would be an understatement. With four boys, a popular kombucha taproom in Denver (with two more locations in the works), and a 30-acre farm in Conifer, she has her hands full. Brooks and her husband, Noah, opened American Cultures in July 2016 after a successful start with a food truck. The taproom in the Highlands is an oasis of pale blue and subway tiles, with more than 15 rotating kombuchas on tap, plus coffee, breakfast options, and locally made goods. Read on to learn more about this mom of four, business owner, and wife.
How do you balance family time and running a business?
My husband and I used to fix and flip homes and I was a stay-at-home mom. When we started American Cultures, we kind of flipped jobs. I became the one working all the time and he still did some construction, but would balance his side with taking care of the kids, bringing them to school. Then as soon as I get home from work, usually around noon, he works. We kind of trade off and figure it out that way because daycare is way too expensive. It doesn’t make any sense. In the beginning when I was a stay-at-home mom, it wasn’t because we were making so much money that I could just stay at home, it was because daycare was so expensive that it made much more sense for me to stay home.
Do your boys like kombucha?
Oh they all do, all four. They’re obsessed, that’s the only drink other than water they’re allowed to have. They aren’t allowed any soda or juice.
Danielle’s Me Time:
I like to get my nails done. I was really big into the gym before I had this last baby so I’ve started to look at gyms in Conifer, where we just moved. I love putting on my headphones and zoning out—that’s my go-to. I went to college at CU so all my good friends still live in the area, and we do have a girls’ night once a month. We all get together and go out to dinner, or go to someone’s house and cook dinner. We’re also building my mother-in-law a house on our property, so she helps out and lets my husband and I go out for date nights, which is very important.
Why is Me Time important to you?
If I find myself getting way too caught up in taking care of the kids, the house, and not doing anything for myself, I get overloaded and snappy, and I’m not a very friendly person to be around, so it definitely rejuvenates me.
How do you choose which kombuchas to serve in the taproom?
We only carry local Colorado companies, their reps come in and we do tastings with all of them. With what’s on tap and what we’ve been selling, I know by now the taste of kombucha that our customers are going to like. The wide variety I have on tap are lighter, not as vinegary and not super sweet, with no added sugar. I do carry a couple on tap that are overly fermented, that have that vinegar kombucha taste, I usually keep three on tap that taste like that. But for most of them, it’s a lighter tasting, almost soda-like kombucha that sells the fastest.
What is the best parenting advice you’ve received?
For me, it was all about consistency with naptimes and feeding times and getting the babies on a schedule. For the most part, all of my kids slept through the night by the time they were three months old. I never did “cry it out,” I was just very consistent. They always had set schedules on when they ate. I always fed every three hours, unless they were wailing, of course I’d feed them. I was very consistent. My older boys now have a set bedtime for school nights and for weekend nights, and we always are very strict about that. We’re very strict about politeness; my boys open doors for me, they say please and thank you. Respect and politeness are huge in our house.
What have you learned about being a business owner?
I learned to be tougher because I really didn’t like confrontation. I’m from New York, so I should have pretty thick skin, but my husband would always do the things I didn’t want to deal with. If one brewer wasn’t working out, I’d make him go talk to them. I feel like now I have better relationships with people because I’m more open and can confront them if I have issues. I think that’s made me a better person. Even at home, too with a thicker skin if I have an issue with friends and family I’m better at dealing with it than bottling it all up inside.
Check out American Cultures at 3233 Tejon St., Denver.