Posted: September 13, 2013
Colorado cool stuff: Handleband, Treety socks, the Real Dill, Spirit HoundBy Eric Peterson
A senior at Stanford University, Boulder native Daniel Haarburger raised $58,000 on Kickstarter for his Wingstand smartphone stand in 2011. Now he’s got a new invention in the Handleband, designed to mount a smartphone to a bicycle’s handlebars to serve as a light, navigator or headlamp, and it’s got a bottle opener to boot. The first of the three functions was actually Haarburger’s initial inspiration. “I got a ticket for biking without a light at Stanford,” he says. He’s since raised more than $70,000 on Kickstarter for the Handleband and started shipping in August. Now 21, Haarburger has plenty of plans for the future. “Each successful product opens the floodgates for a number of new ones,” he says. About $30 retail.
Made by Ethic
THE TREETY SOCKS
Stu Barwick has been working as a solar consultant since 2009, but has strived to make a bigger difference since calculating the methane impact of cows. “It ended up being incredibly depressing,” he says of his math: 200 kilowatts of solar offset just one cow for a year. The 300-kilowatt setup at the Colorado Convention Center? “A cow and a half,” laughs Barwick. To up his impact, he started The Treety, which donates enough profits for every pair of socks sold to plant about 10 trees in deforested areas from India to South America. Made in North Carolina, Barwick digs deep coming up with his socks’ clever names. The water molecule-patterned Pine is so named because “the first water ski was made of pine,” says Barwick. The spacey Willow owes its moniker to a NASA mission that brought up 24 willow saplings. The Treety catalog also has hiking socks, and ski socks are due out this month. $6 to $12 per pair retail.
Made by The Treety
THE real dill
Justin Park and Tyler DuBois were picklers-in-crime, hobbyists who went pro in 2012 after an especially good batch. Now they make four tasty varieties – Jalapeno Honey Dills, Habanero Horseradish, Garlic Caraway, Aji Chile Sour – and a mean Bloody Mary mix. Production runs have grown from 80 jars to more than 400, as pickle fiends across the country can’t seem to get enough of The Real Dill. “Heinz built his empire on pickles,” says DuBois, noting that he and Park have no designs on the catsup market. About $10 per jar retail.
Made by The Real Dill
Also available at farmers’ markets and Marczyk Fine Foods in Denver.
SPIRIT HOUND DISTILLERS
Craig Engelhorn and Wayne Anderson met as colleagues at Oskar Blues in Lyons in the 2000s. Anderson headed up sales and Engelhorn was the brewer. They circled back around to start a business together in the same small town, launching Spirit Hounds Distillers last fall. Recalls Anderson: “I remember him saying his Scotch ale would make a real good whiskey if you distilled it.” The pair decided to distill, rather than brew, because of “what’s happening in the market.” Spirit Hounds makes an unaged White Dog Whiskey, a gin with locally foraged juniper berries and Richardo’s Coffee Liqueur. The last of the three was licensed from Lyons’ “local legend” Rick England, says Anderson, who has given the stuff out as gifts with his wife Linda for years. “If you were a friend of Rick and Linda’s, you could always count on getting a bottle of Richardo’s,” says Anderson. “$25 to $33 retail.
Made by Spirit Hound Distillers
Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com