The Infinite Monkey Theorem: A Winery That’s Breaking All the Rules

Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery Denver

Denver-based winemaker Ben Parsons runs The Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery.  Not only is Parsons making wine in the heart of Denver but he’s also exploring the benefits of packaging wine in cans, growlers, and kegs. Plus, The Infinite Monkey Theorem wine cans are sold on Frontier Airlines as their in-flight wine of choice – another first.

We talked to Parsons about his winery and what is like to be an urban winemaker.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about The Infinite Monkey Theorem, how it was born, and what the crazy wild name is all about?

Ben Parsons: The Infinite Monkey Theorem is an old mathematical theory which states an unlimited number of monkeys sitting at typewriters, given an infinite amount of time, will type the entire works of Shakespeare. It’s about creating order out of chaos, which is similar to the process of making wine, especially with the many more variables when you are growing fruit at 4,000 ft. above sea level and making wines in a back alley in downtown Denver.
I founded the urban winery in 2008, as I wanted to make the wines closer to where people who drink the wine actually live and work. Denver is a city on the rise, with an ever-increasing restaurant scene, numerous craft breweries and distilleries. It’s about making the wine accessible.

Q: When people think about making wine, they think about the countryside and large open spaces, but you are actually located in the heart of the city. Any particular challenges (or fun stories) about making wine in an urban environment?

BP: By making wine in the heart of the city, we’ve stripped away the rolling vineyards and Tuscan facades so we can focus on quality of the wine itself. Plus, we want it to be fun and our location is pretty cool. Its industrial feel and downtown location in Denver’s River North Arts District takes people by surprise.

There’s always lots of challenges — the biggest being getting the fruit from the Western Slopes of Colorado back to Denver, which is a four to six hour drive over the Rocky Mountains.

Q: Tell us a bit about your decision of packing wine in unusual containers such as cans, growlers, and kegs. What made you think that was a good choice and did it turn out like you expected?

BP: Putting any beverage in a can is about as unpretentious as you can get. The American public has embraced canned products for many, many years with sodas and now beers. So putting wine in a can is the next step. It opens up an entirely new market of wine drinkers, as the can is so versatile and can pack-in, pack-out: you can take it in a backpack hiking, you can take it camping, to picnics, to the beach, to a pool party — it can go all the places that glass can’t.

The can is more recyclable than glass, so it’s way more environmentally friendly. Plus, we’re only using quality wines (and our canned wines received pretty good ratings from Wine Spectator!)

The demand for kegged wines is definitely rising, with bigger restaurant groups looking for better solutions to the volume of wines they can go through. Again, the keg is reusable for 30 years and holds the equivalent of 26 bottles, so this creates huge positive environmental impact. All of that translates to cost saving, so ultimately the consumer will get more quality of wine at a cheaper price. Kegged wine is ideal for wine-by-the-glass programs as it ensures quality is maintained. A popular Denver brunch spot, Snooze, have been serving our sparkling wine on-tap for their popular Mimosas, and last year that saved 42,967 glass bottles and corks and 3580 cardboard cartons from Colorado landfills. Think of the cost savings from not having to empty the recycling twice a week!

At our Denver tap room, we offer about nine of our wines on tap, as well as our cider. People can enjoy a glass of wine, and then take home a liter growler of their favorite pour. We also offer blending, so they can play Winemaker and make their favorite blend.

Q: Your wine-in-a-can has become the official choice of Frontier Airlines. How did that come about?

BP: The deal with Frontier Airlines is a natural partnership — we are both leading Denver brands and the airline has embraced other craft products (including Oscar Blues). Other airlines are doing it too. Consumers want quality product they can enjoy. Plus, the can is so eye-catching; it’s a great icebreaker with fellow passengers!

Diana Bocco is a writer and author who writes for Yahoo!, the Discovery Channel website, Marie Claire, Poplar Mechanics, and more. You can find more about her work on her website

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