Temporary home for Tonic Juicery in downtown Glenwood Springs | PostIndependent.com

Temporary home for Tonic Juicery in downtown Glenwood Springs

Micah Mills testifies that the fresh-pressed juice served out of his Tonic Juicery trailer sets customers free.

"People who come in to buy juice are very happy," Mills said of his mobile juice wagon, which is currently parked outside the Garfield County Courthouse in downtown Glenwood Springs. "They always have smiles on their faces, and it just makes them more productive."

Lovers of road trips, whenever Mills and his wife Lindsay — a holistic health coach, herself — partook in the popular American pastime, the young couple also enjoyed a family tradition themselves.

"We always would seek out juice bars whenever we would go on little trips," Mills explained. "Carbondale didn't have one, so we decided to get one started and get out of the construction trade."

“I just did not realize how much labor, fruits, vegetables and everything went into that nine, ten-dollar bottle of juice. It’s amazing … but, wow, there is a lot of work in it.”

— Micah Mills, Tonic Juicery

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Founded in 2014, Tonic Juicery started pressing locally sourced fruits and vegetables for all of their worth at the small business's primary location at 320 Main St. in Carbondale.

"My wife and I started it, so it is a family business. She came up with all of the recipes," Mills explained.

Recipes like the Emerald City juice, which combines cucumber, celery, green apple, kale, collards, parsley, ginger and lemon.

"We make it fresh every day. We have this huge stainless steel press that cost me $24,000," Mills laughed, still in disbelief of the machine's cost.

"It gets a little messy, but I have a full commercial kitchen," he said of the business's Carbondale home base.

However, wanting to expand the family's livelihood without losing its local, organic component, the former construction worker built Tonic Juicery's trailer himself. Since then, the family business has hit the road up and down Highway 82 and beyond.

Mills explained that having previously worked on construction sites littered with energy drinks, fast food and nicotine served as another impetus to jump into the juice lifestyle and trade.

"Interesting enough, I would say at least 20 percent of customers that come in now are in the construction trade," Mills said of his clientele. "You know, this valley is booming with construction, and I have a lot of people that come in and grab a juice on their way up to their jobs. I think it is taking effect."

Starting their work day hours before most start on their first cup of coffee, the Mills begin squeezing at 4:30 a.m.

"It's a lot of work," Mills said with a smile. "I had no idea when I started this. I was thinking like, 'Man, nine, 10 dollars a bottle of juice, I am going to make a great living.'

"But, I just did not realize how much labor, fruits, vegetables and everything went into that nine, ten-dollar bottle of juice. It's amazing and it's great, but, wow, there is a lot of work in it."

Clearly a labor of love, Tonic Juicery's trailer will remain outside the courthouse for a few more weeks before it heads to Snowmass Village. However, Mills said the trailer will return to Glenwood in time.

"We are going to look at signing up for different events," Mills explained. "The trailer gives us that flexibility to get more people drinking juice. We can produce a lot more juice and we want to get more people into it."

mabennett@postindependent.com