Meet The Speakers: COCO MIC Talks

Mic Talks is May 1 at 291 Distillery at 7pm. Mic Talks is a lecture series where guest speakers have the opportunity to speak on their crafts and passions while giving you, the listener, an insider’s look into the industry. Speakers include Michael Myers of 291 Distillery, Mike Bristol of Bristol Brewery, Ryan Wanner of R&R Coffee, and Craig McHugh of A Joyful Noise Farm. Following the lectures, guests have the opportunity to enjoy a sampling of the guest speakers' craft and live music. Seating is limited to 50 and tickets will cost $10 at the door.

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Mike Bristol

A native Coloradan, Mike Bristol was born and raised in Ft. Collins and graduated from CSU with a degree in mechanical engineering.  In late 1993, after six years in the corporate world, he and his wife Amanda moved to Colorado Springs and opened Bristol Brewing Company.  From the beginning, their vision was to put down roots and grow the business into a contributing member of the community.  After 19 years, Bristol Brewing has grown into a gathering place for locals and has become known for its generosity and community involvement through support of a wide variety of worthy causes, including Venetucci Farm, the Friends of Cheyenne Cañon and the Uncle Wilber Fountain.  The brewery has won many awards for its beers, but Mike was most honored when he received the 2009 Partners in Philanthropy award for Outstanding Corporate Philanthropic Program and the Colorado Springs 2010 Small Business of the Year award from the SBA.  He is a board member of the Friends of Cheyenne Cañon and past treasurer of the Colorado Brewers Guild.  He lives in Cheyenne Cañon with Amanda, their three sons, and a laughing lab.

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Ryan Wanner

Originally born in Chicago, I moved to Colorado Springs in 1984. I graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School in 1994. I have always had the restaurant bug in me: my first job was washing dishes at Estela’s Mexican Restaurant on 8th Street. But I really got interested in coffee when I was up in Greeley attending college. I helped a friend open a coffee bar just off the UNC campus. We were using the Illy espresso, and when we got our initial order in, a representative from Illy, straight from Italy, was visiting the distributor. He came up with the initial order and gave us all formal Italian barista training on the espresso machine. I was hooked immediately. From there, I learned that the only way to differentiate yourself in the coffee world is to roast your own coffees. I started researching, learning, and sampling whenever I could. I got a job in a small coffee bar in Black Forest which had a roaster, and continued to hone my craft. I have been operating R&R since early 2008, and have continually strived to better the coffees I roast.



Michael Myers

My personal philosophy as an artist/photographer is a need to get my art out and [have] it be respected. Let me introduce myself first: my name is Michael Myers. I was a photographer for over 25 years, and 9/11 changed my world so much that now I am distiller and the maker of 291 Colorado whiskey. Truly, my whole teenage and adult life, my feelings were [that] I would not have another career and would die a photographer. Well, with my world changed, personal changes, and commuting weekly to NYC I came to the conclusion I needed a new career with a few parameters: it had to be creative and in Colorado Springs were my family lived. My personal philosophy as a distiller differed from the artist/photographer perspective: [the] getting-the-art-out part [wasn't just] a factor — the art being produced needs to be as forward and different as it can be along with making it the best every day.

Craig McHugh

Craig, his wife Kellie and their two children moved from their suburban home in Southern California and purchased 10 acres of land in the small town of Black Forest Colorado, just north of Colorado Springs. With absolutely no farming experience, they began their journey of self-sufficiency and along the way discovered they love to farm. After seven years of hard work, they now have a successful working small organic farm called A Joyful Noise Farm.