Breckenridge-Wynkoop owns five facilities with brewpub licenses — Breckenridge Brewery, at 471 Kalamath Street; Breckenridge Brewery & Pub in Breckenridge; Wynkoop Brewing, at 1634 18th Street; Phantom Canyon Brewing in Colorado Springs; and Breckenridge Colorado Craft (formerly called Brewery & Pub), at 2220 Blake Street — with all but the latter currently brewing beer. The company would like to build a new, 125,000-square-foot facility with a brewpub license. "This facility...would...enter into separate alternating proprietor agreements...with one or more of the other brew pubs identified above and thereby operate as a 'host manufacturer' for the production of craft beer," the proposal states.

In other words, the new brewery could brew up to 60,000 barrels of beer for each of the other five brewpubs, in addition to 60,000 barrels of its own.

What are alternating proprietorships? They allow one brewery to loan or rent its equipment and its physical premises to another brewery for a certain period of time. They also stipulate that the equipment technically belongs to the second brewery while it is doing the brewing. The point, at least under federal law, is twofold: It allows existing breweries to use excess capacity and also gives startup breweries a chance to begin work on a smaller scale with a limited amount of monetary investment.

Breckenridge fans at the Kalamath location raise their glasses to more beer capacity.
Mark Manger
Breckenridge fans at the Kalamath location raise their glasses to more beer capacity.

"It's got levels of complexity that make it doable, but not ideal," Cerkovnik says of the plan. Breckenridge's pub in Breckenridge would likely be the first to use the alternating proprietorship, followed by Breckenridge Colorado Craft on Blake Street; that restaurant stopped brewing in 1996 but could easily start again, he adds.

Breckenridge already has one of these agreements in place; it allows the Wynkoop to make beer on Kalamath Street.

Ironically, the 2008 law that allows alternating proprietorships was championed by New Belgium, which has its own agreement with Washington State's Elysian Brewing. There are currently six of these agreements in effect statewide.

Now that the plan has been approved by liquor enforcement division chief Don Burmania, Breckenridge, which celebrates its 22nd anniversary with a big blowout on July 7, will immediately move forward on buying land and building a brewery somewhere close to Denver, although Cerkovnik wasn't ready to say where.

But it will be twelve to fifteen months before that facility is operational — which means that Breckenridge, which is overcrowded with new fermenters, canning lines and employees, will have to brew at a slower pace than it wants to. "I'm reluctant to go any bigger here," Usry says. "We don't have the physical room for it."

And so Breck plans to take the fight back to the legislature next year. "Our plan is to reach out to all the opposition — the distributors, the wholesalers, the brewers, the restaurant operators — and to find out what their issues really are. Because I still feel that there is a lack of substantive arguments against it," Usry says.

"If Colorado is going to continue to be the unquestioned leader in the craft-beer world, we need to have an 'open for business' sign up," Cerkovnik adds. "We need and want people to recognize the importance of the craft-beer industry to the state of Colorado."

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help

except for its competition


This is good news. Demand for alcohol is up and with all the wonderful things alcohol brings to society, what we really need right now is much much more!