Crazy Mountain Brewing in Edwards is the latest Colorado beer maker to undergo a major expansion, doubling the size of its brewery, adding high-speed canning and bottling lines, and hiring at least seven employees. All told, the Vail-area brewery, which was founded in 2010 by Kevin Selvy, will spend $4.1 million to establish a major presence of the Front Range and then begin distribution in California, Texas and Florida.
"It has been amazing," Selvy says. "We've been operating at capacity since we opened. Our first year, we did 1,300 barrels. We'll do 5,000 in 2011 and we're planning to do 12,000 barrels next year."
Denver-area beer drinkers currently can find six-packs of Crazy Mountain's sticky Amber Ale at a few liquor stores, as well as the occasional keg of one of the brewery's other beers at some bars and restaurants.
But Selvy says they'll be able to buy canned six-packs of two other beers, Lava Lake Wit and Mountain Livin' Pale Ale, at liquor stores by the end of the year, and bomber bottles of a half-dozen other Crazy Mountain beers by February; they include Old Soul Strong Belgian Ale, Hookiebobb IPA, Cara de Luna Black Ale, Scenic Route Kolsh, and Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Winter Ale.
Crazy Mountain will also package a handful of special releases in 750 ml bottles.
"We are getting a warehouse in Denver to expand distribution on the Front Range," Selvy says, adding that the company decided to self-distribute its beers so it could save money and hire its own employees. Crazy Mountain will work with other distributors out of state, however. In fact, it was one of those distributors, Reyes Beverage Group, that helped the brewery pick up production.
"We got a call from them...asking if we could send them some samples. They called us back a week later," Selvy recalls. "The best we can guess for why that happened is that we have a lot of tourists come through Vail. Maybe word got back to them about our beers."
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The brewery's tap room is closed this week and next while the expansion takes place; Crazy Mountain will total 10,000 square feet of space.
Crazy Mountain is getting its new canning line from Boulder's Wild Goose Engineering, which has also supplied canning lines this year to Breckenridge Brewing, Aspen Brewing, Upslope in Boulder and Eddyline Brewing in Buena Vista. It will allow Crazy Mountain to increase its packaging abilities from fifteen cases per hour to 100 cases an hour.