Beer Man

Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar ordered to stop selling draft beer

The Update, September 28: Crooked Stave is now serving draft beer again after having come to resolution with the Department of Revenue's tobacco and liquor enforcement division. It turns out that Crooked Stave owner Chad Yakobson, who has researched Colorado's odd liquor rules, had asked Funkwerks Brewing in Fort Collins, where he used to make his beer, to designate Crooked Stave as the sole distributor and wholesaler for eighteen specific Crooked Stave beers. Since Funkwerks has a manufacturer's license, Crooked Stave doesn't need one in order to sell those beers on tap at its taproom.

Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar, which opened just a few weeks ago, has been ordered by the Colorado Department of Revenue to stop selling beer on draft -- though it can continue to sell bottles.

"They have a wholesaler's license, not a manufacturing license, so they can only sell alcohol for off-premises consumption," says Mark Couch, a spokesman for the department, which licenses all alcohol-related businesses in Colorado.

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To be able to sell draft beer, Crooked Stave needs to apply for a manufacturer's license, Couch explains. Although he can't discuss the details of the investigation, he says an agent with the department's liquor and tobacco enforcement division visited Crooked Stave last week after receiving a tip about the licensing issue.

Crooked Stave, which specializes in wild and sour ales, can still sell bottles from its location at 1441 West 46th Avenue, but those bottles can't be opened on-site.

Brewery owner Chad Yakobson, who's currently traveling out of state, says he's trying to figure out what is going on.

Yakobson opened his brewery in Fort Collins last year and moved the operation to Denver this past June. He opened the Barrel Cellar on September 5 and had been operating it as a taproom ever since.

Crooked Stave doesn't actually make beer at the Sunnyside-area warehouse; instead, Yakobson brews at the nearby River North and Prost breweries, and then transfers the beer to the Barrel Cellar, where he ages it in oak wine and spirits barrels and bottles it.

In spring 2013, he plans to open an innovative, twenty-barrel brewery and taproom in The Source, a European-style open market planned for the old foundry building at 3550 Brighton Boulevard. The Source will also include a chocolatier, a coffee roaster, a wine maker, a sausage-maker and two restaurants.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes