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| Booze |

Breckenridge Brewery's capacity closes in on 24 million beers a year

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The final numbers are still being tallied, but Breckenridge Brewery saw close to 30 percent growth in 2011 -- about double the growth rate of the craft beer industry as a whole -- which makes this week's installation of more brewing tanks excellent timing.

"We're psyched about it," says Terry Usry, a representative for the brewery, which has its main location at 471 Kalamath Street.

Once the brewery's seven new tanks -- six fermenters and one brite tank -- are on line in April, the brewery conservatively expects to brew 35,000 more barrels a year. In twelve-ounce portions, That's 11,200,000 more beers a year, give or take a few.

In all, the brewery will have the ability to produce 75,000 barrels a year (the equivalent of about 24 million bottles of beer) once the new equipment is operational.

Breckenridge broke ground on its expansion back in November.

"We reached capacity at our brewery, and we needed to get some new tanks in and pump up our production," says Usry, who is married to brewmaster Todd Usry and has been associated with the brewery for more than twenty years.

Usry adds that Breckenridge had the cash on hand to pay for the new equipment, a result of a "booming" craft beer market; the company merged with the Wynkoop Restaurant Group in late 2010.

"The craft beer industry is booming right now, and we had a couple good years," Usry says, noting that the brewery has plans for a new kegging line to be installed in late summer. Breckenridge currently distributes in 32 states.

Below are photos of the tank installation on Thursday. All photos by Brandon Marshall for Westword.

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan.

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