Colfax Avenue may be the longest, wickedest street in America, but it’s not long enough — or oriented in the right way — to make it to Centennial. That doesn’t mean the owners of Lost Highway Brewing can’t relocate to the southern suburb, though. James and Tina Pachorek, who opened Lost Highway in 2014 next door to their former restaurant, the Cheeky Monk, said this week that they will move the brewery sometime in the next few months to a business park at 12741 East Caley Avenue.
There they will build a taproom and install a three-head canning line from Twin Monkeys Beverage Systems, a local manufacturer, on which they plan to can five beers — Golden Ghost Belgian Pale, District 6 Pils, Longest Wickedest Wit, Hitchhiker IPA and a dry-hopped lager — that they'll then distribute in the metro area. Lost Highway has hired a new local distributor to handle that task.
“It’s an exciting move for us,” says James Pachorek. “It’s a good spot, a nice mix of office space and higher-ceiling warehouse space... We are going to keep the taproom minimalist.
"After all these years in the restaurant business, we understand what it takes to make people comfortable," he adds. "We won’t have the 100-year-old exposed brick like we do now, but we will make it into a cool neighborhood space. And then we will let the beer speak for itself.”
The Pachoreks carved out a new niche in Denver's beer scene when they opened the Cheeky Monk at 520 East Colfax Avenue in 2007, offering Belgian-style food and an enormous variety of Belgian and American craft beers. At one time, they also owned two other Cheeky Monk locations in Westminster and Winter Park. They opened Lost Highway in 2014 after several years of delays.
Last July, however, they sold the building and revealed that they would close the restaurant so that they could move the brewery to a new location and focus on production and distribution.
The Pachoreks considered staying in Denver, especially since their brewery and many of their beers take their name from Colfax and the surrounding neighborhood. But space was difficult to find and they decided it made more financial sense to move south. While the move will take them far from that lost highway, they decided it didn't make sense to change the brewery's name, beers and logo, a golden ghost.
“It would be different if we were starting from scratch,” James says. “But people know our logo, our taphandles, our stickers. So we are going to stick with him. He is a pretty cool guy.”
The Pachoreks know that they are getting into the packaging game at a time when there is a lot of competition for shelf space in Colorado, which has more than 300 breweries. But they are optimistic. “We wouldn’t have invested this much time and energy and money if we didn’t think there was still room," James says. "And just like anything else, if the product is good, the branding is good and you are building relationships that right way — and this still a big relationship-based industry — then you’ve got something."
Now that they have the keys, the Pachoreks think that they can get the spot turned around in two to three months. Once the new Lost Highway is open, they will start ramping down operations at the original location, then close it a few weeks later. For now, though, all is not lost on East Colfax Avenue.