Oskar Blues, which was founded in Lyons and is now headquartered in Longmont, has been looking for a spot in Boulder for at least five years. The state's second-largest craft brewery thought it had found one in 2012 in a historic Union Pacific train depot there, but the deal later fell through. In the meantime, though, Oskar Blues added to its restaurant empire in Longmont and is close to opening two new restaurants in Denver and Colorado Springs.
But Boulder was always on the mind of owner Dale Katechis, who got his inspiration for Oskar Blues there twenty years ago while working at an Old Chicago location. So, when World of Beer, a Florida-based craft beer bar chain, closed up shop late last year on the Pearl Street Mall, Oskar Blues tried again.
On Wednesday, the brewery announced that it will open a taproom in WOB's sunny former space at 921 Pearl Street by the end of this summer. The location will have live music (like all Oskar Blues locations), a small menu, and twenty taps featuring beers from Oskar Blues, along with Michigan's Perrin Brewing and Florida's Cigar City; Oskar Blues and its financial backer, Fireman Capital Partners, own both breweries.
"Obviously, it's a very exciting and attractive space," says Oskar Blues spokesman Chad Melis. "The Pearl Street Mall is a truly iconic space. There is a buzz that goes along with it."
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The company was able to focus on expansion in Boulder now that it is brewing at three locations across the country — Longmont; Austin, Texas; and Brevard, North Carolina — and has the capacity to meet its distribution requirements, Melis says, in all fifty states, a goal achieved just a few months ago.
Unlike the planned restaurants in Denver and Colorado Springs, which are much larger and located in two-story historic buildings, the Boulder spot will be smaller, seating about 150 people. It will be run by the brewery side of Oskar Blues' operations, as opposed to Oskar Blues Fooderies, which runs the restaurants, Melis says.
The new spot does not yet have a name; Melis says Oskar Blues isn't sure yet if it will go with a name similar to one of its other locations or throw it open to the public to come up with something. In addition to beers on draft, it will sell cans and draft-only specialties in Crowlers to go.