“We see the market and how competitive it is,” says Eric Serani, who caught the bug for flying from his grandfather. “So you need to have something that people will remember.”
FlyteCo will certainly be that. Located in the former Merkl’s garage at 4499 West 38th Avenue, the brewery is embracing an aviation theme — but that means more than just pictures on the wall. When customers walk in, they’ll be greeted by a salvaged plane wing at the entrance and runway striping on the floor; the bar is made from Marston Mat, steel planking that was used to quickly lay down runways during past wars.
Serani, an aerospace engineer, met Jason Slingsby at the University of Colorado, where they bonded over a love for flight and for planes (Slingsby, who also has other pilots in his family, soloed for the first time at age seventeen). The two later met Morgan O’Sullivan, the third owner, who will run the front of the house.
“Pilots like to get together and tell stories. You can’t shut a pilot up. They're very passionate,” Slingsby says. “That's a lot like craft brewing. Beer people, they're passionate as well, and they also love to tell stories.”
He’s been practicing at Woods Boss Brewing, which has the exact same fifteen-barrel brewhouse that FlyteCo will use. In fact, Slingsby has already made seven different beers at Woods Boss, which he will serve when FlyteCo opens.
FlyteCo and Barbed Wire Reef share the building, which dates back to the late 1800s, when it was an electric plant for west Denver’s streetcar system. It sits on 38th Avenue between Utica Street and the busy Tennyson Street business and restaurant corridor.
DeSteeg Brewing and the Grateful Gnome are both near 44th Avenue, while Call to Arms Brewing is near 46th. The Empourium will open at Tennyson and 42nd.
FlyteCo plans to hold several soft openings this month to work out its tap lines, staff and point-of-sale system. Then the brewers will hold their grand opening on March 9.