Monday kicked off Denver StartUp Week, a week dedicated to inspiring and advising entrepreneurs in Colorado.
In recent years, the Mile High City has quickly risen in the startup ranks.
In 2017, Denver ranked above San Francisco as the 10th best city for startups by the Kaufman Index, a study that measures new business activity.
In that report, analysts estimate nearly one in every 10 Denver businesses is a startup, a rate that has only risen over the years.
In 2007 the Downtown Denver Partnership estimated roughly 20 new startup businesses were created in Denver. In 2016 that number was nearly 180.
“[Denver] has a great vibe to it. It's an aspirational place. People want to come to Colorado and we want to export the feel and flavors of what we do here every day,” said Al Laws of Laws Whiskey House on South Acoma Street in Denver.
Laws was one of five panelists who spoke to a crowd of entrepreneurs in LoDo on Monday about how their businesses began. The event was publicized as vice industries as members of the sausage, whiskey, cannabis, and brass industries spoke.
Laws’ story of how his business came to be is similar to many in Denver. For 15 years, he worked as an oil analyst for Merrill Lynch on Wall Street in Manhattan.
He gave that up to move to Denver and start a whiskey distillery, a passion and goal of his since he was 16.
“We love to talk about the whiskey. That's our favorite topic,” he said laughing. “Whiskey is the highest of all spirits there is. It's the thing that slows down this fast world that we have. You better be damn passionate about this. In fact, I don't think you have any right to make whiskey unless you freaking love whiskey.”
StartUp week lasts through the end of September. For a full list of events, in Denver click here.