Founders.

EricEric Foster

Co-Founder & CEO

Born and raised in Michigan, Eric’s love for cider began as a teenager working at the local cider mill in his hometown of Northville. It was here that his cider making prowess developed as he learned the fundamentals of the operation: pressing, packaging, juice varieties, hard cider and apple wine production, that would later become the foundation of Stem. An avid skier and outdoorsman, Eric moved to Colorado in 2000 to earn a degree in Watershed Science from Colorado State University and pursue a career in the outdoor industry. While keeping his love for fermentation and homebrewing at the forefront, Eric’s career in marketing and business development at Fortune 500 companies was made successful with his entrepreneurial drive and strong leadership skills. In 2011, Eric reignited his fermentation talents when he and fellow co-founder, Phil, produced the first batch of Stem Cider (now known as Real Dry) in his home cidery. As CEO and “Lifter of Heavy Things”, you’ll find Eric working closely on all facets of the business: creating sales and marketing initiatives, nurturing relationships with growers and industry friends, sourcing only the finest ingredients, building the very best team, and sharing the good cider word. When he’s not at Stem, he’s enjoying family time, fly fishing, or out skiing the backcountry. More than anything, he appreciates how much he loves coming to work at the cider house every day. Eric lives in Lafayette with his wife, Colleen, and their sons, Quinn and Connor. Together, they are moving towards living their dream of owning an orchard and bison ranch.

 

PhilPhil Kao

Co-Founder & COO

Having grown up a few miles down the road from the oldest cider mill in Michigan, Phil moved to Denver in 2005 and earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Colorado in 2011. As the company’s founding Cidermaker in 2013, Phil’s expertise in biological and mechanical testing and engineering made for a natural transition to his current role as Head of Operations, Quality Control and Chief Nitpicker. On the daily, Phil leads the charge in cider house operations working in close collaboration with the production team to ensure the highest standards are met at every step of the cider making process. Whether he’s integrating new tanks, fine-tuning the performance of the canning line, or tweaking a recipe just slightly, it’s applying his skills for designing and refining systems and processes that he enjoys the most. A passionate cyclist and home cook, when he’s not running experiments in the cider lab, chances are good he’s out on his road bike, in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, or savoring time at home in Denver with his family.

 


Team

 

OUR Leadership TEAM.

IanIan Capps

Head Cidermaker & Lead Singer

As Head Cidermaker since October 2015, Ian is charged with turning all the juice into all the cider. Hailing from Grand Junction, Colorado, and now a long-time Denver resident, Ian’s extensive and unique background in brewing, cider making, and distilling aligns beautifully with the traditional cider making processes we know and love. Having once made booze from a few ingredients in a trash bag while deployed on a U.S. submarine deep in the Persian Gulf, experimentation and trying crazy new things is what makes Ian’s cider making game best in class. When he’s not making cider, you’ll find him out on his bike, at a soccer match or enjoying some family time.

 

Ryan Means Ryan Means

STEM BRAND AMBASSADOR & giraffe tamer

Texas-born Ryan Means and his hockey mullet started tending bar in our RiNo taproom in March of 2014. As a craft beer/beverage enthusiast and active RiNo community member since 2008, Ryan has had a pulse on Denver’s growing craft cider movement from its earliest days on. His love of cider education, and sharing the importance of drinking quality cider made for a natural progression from behind the bar to the sales side of the business. Most days, you can find him sales trekking around Denver. On most other days, catch him fishing, or hanging out with his girlfriend, Ariel, and their two adorable cats, Tofu and Mei.

 

 

ArlineArline Kellogg

Taproom manager & cider wench

Colorado native Arline Kellogg, our resident Cider Wench, was the first to join the Stem team back in January of 2014. As Taproom Manager, Arline heads up all things community for Stem, and is the mastermind behind the creative pairings, events and happenings in the taproom. Having grown up in Morrison, Colorado, alongside a family of cider and fermentation enthusiasts, she’s deeply rooted in the craft of cider making and its history. Ask her what her favorite apple is, and she’ll tell you it’s the fruit from that one side of her Grandmother’s apple tree.

 

 

CourtneyCourtney O’Rourke

Director, marketing & Cider Relations

Courtney O’Rourke is a writer, a storyteller, and a natural-born connector. Having grown up in Vermont surrounded by a bounty of cider mills, her love for the cider industry was ignited early on. A Colorado resident since 2010, she joined Stem in the spring of 2015 and has been crafting our cider story ever since. She cares deeply about quality, creativity, craft, and the process of how things are made while sharing stories through social media channels and the printed word. When Courtney’s not sipping on cider (currently- Whiskey Barrel Apricot), she can be found exploring the flavors of Colorado’s booming craft food and beverage scene and writing stories from her adventures. Courtney lives in the historic Curtis Park neighborhood with her husband, Patio. Together they dream of hitting the open road (again) in search of the world’s best swimming holes and ice cream shops.

 

 

BrendanBrendan Kinkopf

VP of Finance & Nickels & Dimes

Our resident bean counter, analyst and forecasting expert, Brendan Kinkopf joined the Stem team in June of 2016. As an avid skier, tennis player and lover of the warm Colorado sunshine, the decision to make the move to Denver from his hometown of Cleveland was an easy one. A licensed CPA in Colorado, Brendan holds a B.A. and M.S. in Accounting from Michigan State, making him the 5th “Michigander” on the team. When he’s not deep in the books, chances are you’ll find him out on the slopes, running, or courtside.

 

 

Matt Hoskins, Sales Director at Stem CidersMatt hoskins

sales director & modern industrial businessman

Born and raised in the suburbs of Phoenix, AZ, Stem Sales Director and “Modern Industrial Businessman” Matt Hoskins and his family moved to Loveland, Colorado (the second time) in December of 2014. Matt holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Criminal Justice from Northern Arizona University. Coming from a large corporate environment, building partnerships while growing the Stem brand are delivered with passion and a drive for more. While not on the road or at the cider house, Matt and family can be found camping and swimming during the summer and skiing in the winter.