Beer Man

Denver Beer Company Will Open Third Brewery, in Olde Town Arvada

Denver Beer Company, which helped kick off the city’s brewery surge when it opened on Platte Street in 2011, is taking its beer and its successful formula on the road: The company plans to open a third brewery and tasting room in a former car dealership in Olde Town Arvada sometime in early 2017.

The 4,350-square-foot space at 5768 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard will include a seven-barrel brewing system — just like the Platte Street spot — and will be modeled after the original tap room. There will also be long, communal tables on a 1,500-square-foot patio, open garage doors and local artwork.

“One of the most rewarding parts of this business is to watch customers in-house, smiling as they drink our beer. We love that in-person interaction,” says Charlie Berger, who owns Denver Beer Co. with former college compatriot Patrick Crawford. “And when we visited Olde Town Arvada and sent people up there to look at it, it just felt like a great fit for our team, for our culture and for our vibe.”

Like the Platte Street location, the Arvada brewery will give Denver Beer Co. an opportunity to innovate and create new beers, Berger adds. The company also owns a large production brewery and canning facility, along with the Canworks tap room at 4455 Jason Street, in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood.

“One of our goals is to have a brewery at every stop along the light-rail Gold Line,” jokes Crawford, who points out that the two existing locations are close to Union Station and one of the planned stops along that line, scheduled for completion later this year. And another Gold Line stop will also open in Olde Town Arvada.

Crawford also mentioned that the new location is inside a former car-service garage, a Craig Chevrolet dealership, just like the Platte Street brewery. “It's going to be a blast to renovate another old garage on Olde Wadsworth and turn it into a vibrant and fun community hangout.”

Smaller breweries are having to make choices when it comes to business strategies as the number of new breweries continues to expand in Colorado (where there are more than 330) and nationwide (where there are more than 4,300). Some are satisfied with over-the-bar sales, while others have begun packaging in an effort to get a foothold on increasingly crowded liquor-store shelves.

Denver Beer Co., though, looks to be moving ahead on both fronts as it expands its canned offerings and adds this second tap room-style brewery.

“We are trying to build our business for the long term. We are not planning to leverage ourselves to the hilt and then sell out to Anheuser-Busch InBev,” says Crawford, who adds that Denver Beer Co. is financing the new brewery with a combination of cash flow and bank loans, but not much equity investment.

Arvada is already home to three breweries — Oddysey, New Image and Yak & Yeti — with at least one more in planning, as well as a tap room for Grand Lake Brewing. Arvada Beer Company closed in Olde Town last year, but Crawford says he doesn't think it was because Arvadans don't like good beer.

Construction should begin in the next few weeks. Denver Beer Co. employs 35 people and will likely hire eight to ten new team members to staff the new brewery.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes