Beer Man

Durango Brewing Owner Readies Dean & Co. Brewery in La Junta

One of Durango Brewing's new labels.
One of Durango Brewing's new labels. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau
The new owners of Durango Brewing and Joseph James Brewing (of Las Vegas) are getting ready to open Dean & Co., a new brewery in the small town of La Junta that will serve as a production facility for a major brand push and eventually as a taproom for the eastern plains town.

No specifics have been revealed, and Dean & Co. didn't answer questions seeking comment, but in a help-wanted ad for a director of production/head brewer, the company said it was looking for someone with experience on a thirty-barrel brewhouse. "You’ll work in a state-of-the-art PLC based well-equipped brew house with an operating production capacity of 25,000 bbl per year," the ad read.

Otero County Economic Development coordinator Danelle Berg says there are plans for a taproom that will be open to the public, "and we are anxious to learn more about those plans."

click to enlarge ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO TAX & TRADE BUREAU
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau
In January 2015, the Miller International clothing and boot company (not associate with Miller beer) bought Durango Brewing and shut it down for a few months last year for renovations. The brewery reopened over the winter with a fresh look both for the facility and its packaged lineup of beers. Founded in 1990, Durango Brewing is the third-oldest brewpub in Colorado, behind the Wynkoop and Carver Brewing (also located in Durango).

Denver-based Miller (a hundred-year-old company formerly known as Miller Stockman) also purchased the empty 185,000-square-foot former pickle plant in La Junta that it will use for the new brewery.

In July 2015, brewery brand manager Andrea Allison told Westword that Durango Brewing was an attractive investment because it “holds the marketing appeal of being named after Durango, which is a beautiful and historic city. And with an increase of cash flow, Durango Brewing has the potential to grow from a small brand to one that helps drive more tourism and revenue into Colorado.”
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes