A piece of Boulder brewing history is back on the market.
Two years after Fate Brewing acquired the leases to Avery Brewing’s famed former warehouses at 5763 Arapahoe Boulevard, along with all of the old equipment, the brewpub is trying to unload the facility, hopefully to another beer-maker. Fate owner Mike Lawinski says the configuration of those warehouses made it too difficult for federal licensing authorities to approve both a manufacturing brewery and a brewpub for Fate on the site.
“It was tough,” he says. “To have our application sit there with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for 285 days and then find out that we couldn’t do what we wanted to do — that was tough.”
The main problem was that the brewery wasn't contiguous with the warehouse, but just down the alley, where Fate planned to open its tasting room and restaurant; there are several other businesses in between. Fate tried to overcome that by switching its brewpub license to a manufacturing license, but that wasn’t allowed, either. Avery Brewing has a manufacturing license and didn’t serve its own food during the 22 years it was in the business park.
The parties at Avery's old space, like Strong Ale Fest in 2013, were the stuff of legend.
Instead, Fate has leased a 15,000-square-foot building in Louisville’s Colorado Tech Center, where it plans to eventually open a larger production brewery and a small restaurant. First, though, Lawinski needs to figure out what to do with the Arapahoe Avenue location, which could still make a perfect turnkey brewery for someone.
Avery Brewing moved out of its ramshackle collection of warehouses in February 2015, and into a huge new $30 million brewery and restaurant campus on nearly six acres in the Gunbarrel section of town. Until then, the brewery had been on Arapahoe Avenue since it was founded in 1993, taking more and more space as it grew. In recent years, Avery had become as well known for its sold-out parties and tap releases as it was for its beer.
“Plan A is that we find someone who is looking to grow and who only needs production space, without a taproom or a restaurant. They could brew on Arapahoe and then put their taproom anywhere they wanted,” Lawinski says. Plan B is to lease the space to another manufacturer, like a bakery, and then sell Avery’s equipment and use the money to fund the purchase of a new brewhouse for Fate in Louisville. And Plan C is to unload the space and move the equipment to Louisville. But Lawinski doesn’t think it will travel well.
The bar is under construction at Fate's new Ale House in Lafayette.
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Fate currently brews about 4,000 barrels of beer per year at its brewpub at 1600 38th Street, and was already at maximum capacity when it agreed to take over the Avery warehouses in 2015. “That was supposed to give us the ability to brew 8,000 more barrels. Unfortunately, it took us two years to find out that the space wasn’t going to work for us,” Lawinski says. In the meantime, Fate has been struggling to keep up with the demand for its beers, which include Uror Gose, Laimas Watermelon Kolsch and Moirai India Pale Ale.
The demand will be even stronger when Fate opens its second restaurant, this one in the Lafayette Marketplace in Lafayette, sometime in August or September. That restaurant, the Fate Ale House, won’t have its own brewery, but it will have thirty taps that will need to be filled; it’s likely the location will do that by relying more heavily on outside breweries until Fate is eventually able to open the production brewery in Louisville.
Ultimately, the Louisville spot is envisioned as a brewery, a taproom and a small restaurant, Lawinski says; it's located in a business park that doesn’t have a lot of options for eating. There is no estimate for when it will open, however, since Fate is waiting to see what kind of interest it can drum up in the Avery buildings.