Oh, how time flies when you're brewing fun. Three years ago, Renegade Brewing Company began brewing beer at 925 West Ninth Avenue, in the Arts District on Santa Fe. Renegade celebrated its third anniversary on Saturday, June 28, with an outdoor block party with live music, food trucks and plenty of beer. By the time it was over, 31 kegs had been emptied. We stopped by drink some of that beer and talk about Renegade's future plans.
See also: Best Brewery Tap Room (Ambience) 2013
"We were definitely prepared for a big event this year," says Laura Vande Zande, Renegade's Ambassador of Beer Enjoyment and operations manager for the brewery. "The vibe was just really great and that's what I was looking for -- a really nice, friendly, exciting atmosphere where people were comfortable."
Renegade opened on June 26, 2011. The first anniversary party took place in the taproom. In 2013, the celebration took up half the block in front of the brewery. The third anniversary required a permit to occupy the entire strip of Ninth Avenue from Santa Fe to Kalamath. "It was a great event," Vande Zande says. "I couldn't have asked for more."
But special preparations were in order to ensure a consistency in production -- and that there would still be beer to serve after the party. "We'd been saving up," says Vande Zande, drawing from the success of previous anniversary parties. "Since then, we've grown a lot in our draft and outside sales. We have a lot more restaurant accounts, we have a lot more liquor-store accounts, a lot more people that rely on us to provide beer for them -- so we had to make sure we could throw this big party. We ended up going through 31 kegs, and we still had to make sure everybody could drink Renegade beer after the party was done."
The block party featured live music from C.P. Carrington, Holly Lovell, The Way The Arrow and The Knew, as well as food trucks Matt's Snack Shack, Baba & Pop's Kitchen, Slider Shack 303 and Em's Ice Cream.
"All the beers were available, and we ran out of a few," Vande Zande says. "Elevation IPA and 5:00 Afternoon Ale were crowd favorites for the day. We were charging $5 for our Elevation IPA. That's a killer deal for an 11 percent IPA..."
And the party's not over, because Renegade continues to expand, and is building a 15,000 square foot canning facility. "Right now, we're canning about once a week. That's about 200 cases a week," Vande Zande says. "We are starting a new production facility at First and Santa Fe. We're just waiting on permits for construction."
Once the permit is obtained and after a four- to six-week build-out, Renegade plans to begin distributing across the state. "We'll be hitting the state of Colorado by the end of the year," Vande Zande says. "So if we're able to grow our production, we might start looking at some other states. It's definitely important for us to stay true to Colorado and Denver. We love supporting the Denver market. Denver loves us -- it's our home market. So we want to keep making sure that we have products available for anyone who wants them, here in our home state."
Vande Zande estimates that the canning facility will be operational by the fall at the latest, and begin canning 5:00 Afternoon Ale, Redacted Ry IPA, Elevation IPA, Consilium Milk Pale Ale, and Hammer & Sickle, with more to come in the future.
And next June, there will be another anniversary. "As far as the parties go, they've all gotten bigger and better," she says. "It's a come-as-you-are environment where you can just kick back and have some fun. Everybody we worked with was just flawless. All of our staff just kicked ass. "We'd like to do something like this again."
And with Renegade continuing to grow, Vande Zande expects that next year's party will be even bigger. "We do have space for more people," she points out.
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Keep reading to see more photos of the event...