The owners of Lady Justice Brewing and Factotum Brewhouse have finalized a deal that will allow Lady Justice to brew its beer at Factotum and put the Lady Justice name on three permanent tap handles. Although the legal and regulatory details are different than Wit's End Brewing and Strange Craft Beer Company's shacking up late last year, the result is the same: Two small breweries are sharing a taproom in an effort to make both of them better.
"Lady Justice Brewing was without a taproom, and we felt we had space in both our brewhouse and taproom to accommodate them," says Laura Bruns, who owns Factotum with her brother, Chris Bruns.
Since its founding in 2016, Lady Justice has been operating out of a tiny building just outside of Denver, where the brewers make beer almost exclusively for paying members who sign up for regular beer deliveries. The brewery's goal is to donate all profits to Colorado-based community organizations that "promote the status and opportunity of women and girls." But the brewery has never had a taproom where people could come in for a pint.
The new agreement, called an alternating proprietorship, allows Lady Justice to brew on Factotum's system at specific times and as a separate entity, while keeping its original brewhouse. This will allow Lady Justice to make more beer, have a larger community presence and donate more money.
"Factotum has been a supporter and mentor for us since before we opened," says Lady Justice head brewer and co-founder Betsy Lay. "They’ve opened their doors to us to collaborate with them for fundraising efforts with nonprofits we love, and we couldn’t think of a more perfect team to collaborate with."
"When Factotum reached out to discuss joining forces, we were really, really excited. We'd been trying to figure out how to create a taproom in 350 square feet of space, and as Laura said, plans just kept falling through," adds Lady Justice co-owner Kate Power. "Factotum is an amazing partner as their mission, beers, and work ethic are all awesome. We've been able to very slowly transition from production-only to having beer regularly on tap, and we wouldn't have been able to do it without teaming up with Factotum. The brewing community has always felt naturally collaborative, and our combined efforts seems to be an organic next step."
Factotum, which brews many of its beers based on customer or community recipes and often serves as a mentor to would-be pros, wasn't looking to bring in another brewery, but when the Brunses heard that Lady Justice's plans to open a small taproom elsewhere had fallen through — at around the same time that they learned about Strange Craft and Wit's End — they decided it might be possible.
"I contacted Tim [Myers of Strange Craft] and Scott [Witsoe of Wit's End] right away to find out if their setup was something we could copy. In the end, we're not exactly organized the same way they are, but we're pretty close," Laura Bruns says. "We've all felt the partnership has been seamless and beneficial."
For the past several months, Lady Justice has been serving some beer at Factotum under a different kind of license.
"We are huge believers in their mission," Bruns adds. “I’ve always admired Lady Justice’s brewery and business model. They have a great concept run by great women making great beer. To be able to combine our collective
efforts and create something that reaches a larger community is really exciting.”