Beer Man

Factotum Brewhouse to Close October 9 Despite Pandemic Rebound

Factotum Brewhouse to Close October 9 Despite Pandemic Rebound
Factotum Brewhouse
After six years of running their no-nonsense, community-centered brewery in Sunnyside, siblings Laura and Chris Bruns have decided to close Factotum Brewhouse in its existing location at 3845 Lipan Street.There will be a final going-away party on October 9.

The news isn't unexpected: Factotum has been operating on borrowed time since the beginning of 2019, when the Brunses and Bryce Boyer, who owns the freestanding building where the brewery is located, were unable to come up with a lease rate that both sides thought would be fair.

"The numbers that were presented to us at the time were akin to what breweries in RiNo were paying, which we rightfully felt was overpriced for the current Sunnyside market," Laura Bruns writes on Factotum's Facebook page. "[It] turns out that for a very long time, we were right."

So Factotum continued to brew and sell beer there, growing more profitable as business — especially from events, like fundraisers and birthdays — steadily improved. But that momentum, along with $60,000 in planned event revenue, evaporated with the onset of the pandemic.
click to enlarge FACTOTUM BREWHOUSE
Factotum Brewhouse
Factotum was able to fight through that, as well, thanks to support from customers who turned out in droves to buy beer to go, and the Brunses say they never missed a rent payment. In fact, by the time the city and state lifted capacity restrictions on businesses last spring, they felt comfortable enough to make an offer to Boyer to buy the building. That offer was rebuffed, however, and Boyer, who has been a photographer in Sunnyside for two decades, recently found a retail tenant willing to pay his asking price on the lease. (Boyer hasn't yet responded to an email seeking comment, but we will update this story if he does.)

"So where does that leave us?" Laura and Chris ask. "Truthfully, we’re not 100 percent sure. We are a profitable yet soon-to-be homeless brewery. The good thing is that we're blessed with lots of options, and we're exploring each of those options with clarity, pragmatism and logic. Some of those options are taking their sweet time to realize their full potential, but they’re on the table.

"Regardless...we'll be taking a little bit of time off from Factotum as we currently know it," they continue. "The stress of running a small business, especially through COVID, has us both focusing on our health and our families a little bit more than we were before. We are having conversations that are inspiring and reassuring, and we're confident that this will manifest itself in the way that we never imagined."

So, the Brunses say, they're "walking away from this knowing that financially we did the smart thing."
click to enlarge Siblings Laura and Chris Bruns. - FACTOTUM BREWHOUSE
Siblings Laura and Chris Bruns.
Factotum Brewhouse
Over the next few weeks, however, they are hoping that people will come in and "drink our tanks dry, grab a few T-shirts or glassware, and say goodbye."

"Being your neighborhood brewery has been one of the greatest honors we’ve had. We were a part of so many celebrations, fundraisers, first dates, baby’s first brewery visits, and new friendships.... We donated to well over 75 local nonprofits in our 6.5 years of existence and tried to help each entity the best we could.

"While we know plenty of breweries have come and gone over the years, and that in a few months the word 'Factotum' may be gone from the mouths of many, we hope we are remembered for our willingness to help our community, our openness to bringing craft beer to all demographics, and our blue-collar work ethic."
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes