Denver Beer Co. has been one of the most successful breweries to open in Colorado in the past decade, and its pint glass will runneth over further this year when the company opens a third metro-area location.
Owners Patrick Crawford and Charlie Berger said Tuesday that they have purchased the sprawling property at 2425 South Downing Street on the edge of the Rosedale and University neighborhoods. A former gas station, the two buildings there were most recently home to Maddie's Restaurant, a locals' favorite that closed in October.
Renovations will begin immediately, and the final product will include a 2,563-square-foot brewery and taproom that will be similar to Denver Beer Co.'s locations in LoHi and Olde Town Arvada, along with a unique 10,000-square-foot patio with a tiki bar, fire pits, yard games, a beer garden and bike parking. The owners of Lucky Pie Pizza and El Jefe, who operate a slick Airstream food truck called the Mighty Burger inside DBC's Arvada brewery, will run a similar concept inside the Downing Street spot.
"This is an awesome property, and the patio is huge," says Berger. "It's going to lend itself to some awesome events and allow us to have some really cool parties down there."
Denver Beer Co. plans to lease out the second, much smaller building (the 761-square-foot cottage that once held Maddie's) on the property to an "additional restaurant partner or snack food purveyor" — possibly an ice cream shop.
The move solidifies Denver Beer Co. as one of the biggest craft-beer players in Denver — and in Colorado as a whole, as DBC recently became the tenth-largest independently owned brewery in the state. The purchase of the building, an unusual move for generally cash-strapped small restaurants and breweries, also helps separate Denver Beer Co. from other breweries as both a business and a property owner.
"We are almost nine years in this summer," says Crawford. "We haven't moved at a lightning pace, but in a smart and sustainable way, we think. We have continually reinvested in the business."
"We have been selling some beer in this state, and we are thankful," adds Berger, who credits DBC's employees for a lot of its success. "Honestly, it probably comes down to our beers and our team.
"Patrick and I are conservative. We try to take risks, but they are smart risks," Berger continues. "Sometimes the right opportunity comes up, and we were positioned well to take advantage of it."
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Founded in 2011 as one of the first in the most recent wave of new taproom-only craft breweries, Denver Beer Co. also owns its 48,000-square-foot warehouse, production and packaging facility at 4455 Jason Street, in the Sunnyside neighborhood. It leases its original brewery at 1695 Platte Street, in Denver, and its Arvada location, at 5768 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, which opened in 2017. It also runs Cerveceria Colorado next door to the Platte Street brewery. The new location is expected to add fifteen new jobs.
Like the other taprooms, the South Downing location will probably have its own brewing equipment, as well (though it will have to be approved by city and state agencies). "We think it's important for people to be able to see the beer being made and to be able to talk to the brewer," Crawford said. (Several breweries recently have opened taprooms, or plan to open new taprooms, without equipment.)
There aren't many brewery options nearby, despite the high number of homes. The Post Brewing has a non-brewery fried-chicken restaurant nearby, while Platt Park Brewing and Declaration Brewing are probably the two closest breweries, especially since Fermaentra closed on West Evans Avenue in 2018. “We hope this new taproom will become a community gathering place and hub for the surrounding south Denver neighborhoods including Platt Park, South Wash Park, the University of Denver area and Harvard Gulch areas,” Crawford says.