The Steamboat Collective mixes good taste with coffee, wine

Michael Lang is one of the new owners of the Steamboat Collective located at 1875 Ski Time Square Drive. The new business is open in the morning as a cafe with Big Iron Coffee Co., in the afternoon the property hosts premium wine tastings and is reserved for members and private events in the evenings.
John F. Russell / Steamboat Pilot and Today

Sommeliers Michael Lang and AJ Fossum have teamed up to create The collective of steamboats, a new venture that will combine the great taste of Big Iron Coffee Co. during the day, with an upscale wine tasting venue in the evening.

“We have an interesting business plan,” Lang said as he watched snow cannons blow down the slopes of the Steamboat Resort from The Collective’s lounge on Friday morning. “Basically it’s a coffee in the morning, we do wine tasting in the afternoon and we’re a private club in the evening.”

Lang, who worked as a sommelier at Harwigs and L’Apogee for over 20 years, partnered with Fossum, owner of Wines and spirits of the ski town, to open Le Collectif. This summer the two joined forces with Big Iron Coffee Co. owner Bowan Radkey to begin gifting Big Iron Coffee to The Collective, located at 1875 Ski Time Square Drive.

Le Collectif offers a cup of coffee from a local roaster in the morning and tastings led by experienced sommeliers in the afternoon. In the evening, the place will be open to members or can be reserved for private events.

“I’ve always been in wine consulting business for my friends, and it’s always been pretty much a hobby,” Lang said. “Then during COVID, I got a phone call from a friend of mine. The concept was to grow my consulting business doing a lot of online selling and wine moving, and we started looking for a place.

The collective will function as a café from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Run by Head Barista Colleen McNaught, the store offers a selection of Big Iron coffee made to order, as well as other items like bagels, pastries and a selection of Mountain Waffle Co. There is also cold cuts, cheese, olives and a take-out selection that includes mixed nuts, pistachios and macron-truffled almonds.

The space inside the Steamboat Collective.
The Steamboat Collective / Courtesy photo

After the cafes close, customers can consult the calendar and reserve a spot for the scheduled wine tastings that take place most afternoons.

“We’re super unique in that we want to share our knowledge, we want to have fun and we’re on the cutting edge,” Lang said.

Fossum recently passed levels 1 and 2 of the Master Sommelier Court and has worked at several local restaurants including Cottonwood Grill, Bistro CV, Low Country Kitchen, Yama and Cloverdale. Andre Swanson, an experienced sommelier who was the creator of the wine program and managing director of Sauvage, will also bring his experience to The Collective.

The wine featured in the tastings is available for purchase at Ski Town Wine and Spirits.

“We supply everything because we don’t have a kitchen,” Lang said.

The collective was born out of the Fifty 5 Degrees Steamboat wine consulting company, created by Lang, Fossum and Swanson. Fifty 5 Degrees consults and guides connoisseurs to the best selections, answers wine-related questions and helps club members organize their perfect wine cellar.

With the addition of The Collective, Fifty 5 Degrees hopes to expand its offering and attract more members to the club.

“It’s a group of like-minded business people who have come together to execute a plan on the same page,” Lang said.

Joshua B. Speller