Editor's note: Colorado has enticed all sorts of pioneers since its Wild West beginnings. We’re excited to highlight a handful of these trailblazers - the intrepid entrepreneurs, aspiring micro-brewers and ambitious thought leaders - who have helped create the adventurous and innovative culture the Centennial State is known for. Today, we hear from Amanda Johnson-King, Marketing and Branding Manager from Odell Brewing Company, one of Ft. Collins' many craft breweries.

How did Odell Brewery get started?
Doug, Wynne and Corkie Odell opened Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1989. Over the last 23 years, the husband-wife-sister team has released its fair share of uniquely named craft beers while also cultivating a work environment that celebrates collaboration, passion and, of course, beer.

When and why did you start using Google Apps?
We started using Google Apps back in 2011. We’re a pretty small team and we didn’t have an IT department at the time so trying to maintain our Microsoft Exchange server was expensive and time-consuming. Plus, our team collaborates extensively in person and online. We realized that we wasted time emailing Word documents as attachments back and forth and dealing with locked documents. We needed a new platform that would let us work together online the same way we did in person. When we found out about Google Apps and learned that multiple team members could work on a single doc at the same time, as well as see all the changes in real-time without having to deal with servers, and we thought it was a good fit for our growing company.

Since moving to Google Apps, have you seen any unique uses by certain employees or groups?
Everyone uses Gmail - email is the foundation of our operation - but we’ve seen various groups adopt the products in different ways based on their needs (and creativity). Our product development committee tracks key information for each and every brew in a shared Google sheet. This includes everything from alcohol content to taste profile to the name and when and where the beer will be poured. This lets them stay organized and helps stakeholders from other teams keep tabs on key information, since they know the information in the sheet is always up-to-date.

Have you stumbled across any unexpected benefits since moving to Google Apps?
Absolutely. We knew Apps would help us internally, but it’s been cool to see how it’s helped us work with other local businesses. We frequently partner with nearby restaurants, like Jax Fish House, to create special collaboration brews for their customers and use Google Docs to manage the process. We do this so that all the requests are automatically centralized in a single Google sheet that our team can access at any time. We use the same sheet internally for any of our employees who want to use the pilot system to make their own custom beers for special events like their weddings or holidays.

Odell is known for its green initiatives. How does technology play into your sustainability efforts?
By 2014, our goal is to be a zero landfill brewery. Sustainability matters all the way from our recycling methods to our IT - not having a large on-site server means we're decreasing our environmental footprint.

Overall, how has technology helped Odell grow?
We’re in the business of brewing beer and that’s what we love. We’ve been very deliberate and strategic in how we expand the business and where we sell our beer. We’re not aiming to go nationwide or grow faster than we can manage. Ultimately, the role of technology at Odell is to help us work together, engage our fans and beer lovers, and to help us make great beer. Whether it’s posting our daily food truck calendar on our website, managing the pilot system schedule through Google Docs, or just knowing that we won’t have to spend time or money dealing with email servers, Google Apps has helped us focus on what we care most about — making great beer.