Mr. Summit County 2019: Jason Ford
BRECKENRIDGE — Community members will recognize Jason Ford as the proprietor of Broken Compass Brewing, a fixture in Breckenridge since the brewery opened its doors in summer 2013.
But there’s a lot more to Ford than just beer, and what he enjoys more than anything is getting to bring people together.
“It completely surprised me,” Ford said about his nomination for Mr. Summit County. “But I think it has to be about the community we’ve created. I’m just a regular guy out here trying to create a great place with a great product. If you can find something like this that brings people together, they pay attention. The beer helps too; it’s the face of the brewery. But I really do think it comes from the love people have for this place — a great place for everyone to gather, hang out and see your friends.”
Ford was born and raised in Wyoming before moving to Bozeman, Montana, where he earned a degree in chemical engineering at Montana State University. Following graduation, Ford made his first move to Colorado, where he said a Breckenridge Brewery stout at Coors Field first awakened his love for beer.
Shortly after, Ford moved to Portland, Oregon, where he put his degree to work, serving as a chemist in an environmental laboratory, and in research and development in the fields of battery technology and aerospace defense. He returned to Denver a decade later to take on another research and development position but soon set his sights on something more ambitious.
“I took on a management position, and not being in the lab anymore and not being able to build anymore just wasn’t my bag,” Ford said. “I got bored. I wasn’t creating anymore. I knew I had to do something different. I had a couple buddies working at breweries or starting breweries, and I thought that looked like a great job.”
Ford opened the first iteration of Broken Compass Brewing in Denver in 2008 and moved the business to Breckenridge in 2013.
“I’m just a mountain guy at heart,” Ford said. “To be able to have a mountain town brewery is a pie in the sky. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid, so to make it happen is a blessing.”
Ford lives with his wife, Jo, who he lauded for allowing him to chase his dreams. Ford said Jo is also a beer enthusiast and has helped develop some of the flavors Broken Compass patrons might be familiar with — calling the brewery’s coconut porter “her baby.”
While not working, Ford said he enjoys spending time outdoors biking and skiing as well as taking advantage of Summit County’s slow seasons to travel with his wife. Ford said he also takes an annual trek out west to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, where he spends four weeks on a crew building the man for the Burning Man festival.
“It’s been so fun watching the community that we’ve been able to build here,” Ford said. “The support we’ve seen from the community has been outstanding. And it’s been really awesome to see that community develop and keep getting stronger every year.”
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