Syntax distills the ‘weird’

On a Friday morning, a bit earlier than she may like, Heather Bean relished a time to reflect in a historic building she basically rebuilt on her own. 

It’s been a year, Bean said, and while some of that was crappy life stuff, the kind we all must face, there were other parts of it that were a result of her own frenetic personality. She bought some rental properties and moved to Greeley after spending 28 years in her Fort Collins home, and her old building, the Greeley Elevator in Downtown Greeley, always needs a repair, like a toddler tugging on her pant leg. 

Honestly, distilling, the core piece of her gin and vodka business, which she calls Syntax (get it?), was the easiest part of her life. She planned to do a bit of that Friday and climb Mount Paperwork before she opened in the afternoon. It’s a lot, as it always is, but Bean is grateful for her business. 

She’s been sad and depressed with the life stuff. Part of that was a breakup after seven years, but she also, just now, is getting over long COVID-19, which left her with debilitating joint pain that left her gasping in the morning and prevented her from self-soothing with her beloved outdoor activities. But her businesses, as usual, picked her up. She hosts drag shows once a month, and those pack the place. 

“Like really packs it,” Bean said and smiled. “That as much as anything helped drag me out of my own (stuff).”

Bean is getting back to hosting other events, such as comedy on the first and third Fridays, in addition to the drag show on the second Saturday night of every month. She’s also hosting trivia.

Her building looks great, after a years-long renovation, but even now, she gets people wandering in who wonder what business it is. This makes her feel bad about her marketing. 

“I need to be a lot better about it,” Bean said. 

She’s wondered at times about her business plan too, not just her marketing. It felt as if everyone she met with some business sense was telling her to scale up. But that, she said, would defeat the purpose of Syntax. 

“I had to do some self-reflection, and I realized I don’t want to take over the world,” said Bean, who is 48. “I don’t want to be the next New Belgium.”

What she wants is a place where she can have strange artwork and exotic plants and awesome projects to work on, even if a lot of those projects are taking care of her old building.

“We embrace our weird here,” she said. 

That does mean she does her own paperwork and e-mails and scheduling, but it also means she can live through her business and not because of it. 

“I don’t want to be in charge of 100 people,” Bean said. “I like to get my hands dirty. That’s a lot of the joy.”

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