Denver's craft-beer scene has exploded over the past three years as the number of breweries tripled inside city limits, but most of those brewery owners started off as home brewers, roasting grains in their ovens and tweaking recipes in their garages.
Chris and Laura Bruns, a sister-and-brother team, want to pay their respects to those home brewers by opening a new brewery in the Sunnyside neighborhood that uses their recipes and gives them a chance to make their beers on a much larger scale.
Factotum Brewhouse, at 4735 Lipan Street, will include a seven-barrel system where homebrewers of all skill levels can brew a beer with help from Chris, an experienced homebrewer himself, and then have it served on tap and get customer feedback.
"We want to make it less about us, and more about them," says Chris, adding that the goal is to support the beer-loving community by giving them professional equipment and advice and by working under the philosophy that "anybody can brew."
"Teaching is a big part of the concept because we want to teach people about the process," adds Laura, who, like her brother, has a teaching degree.
And they'll have a built-in clientele since Stomp Them Grapes & Hop To It, a longtime beer- and wine-making supplies shop, is located just two doors down from Factotum's future spot in the Sunnyside neighborhood.
To keep things on the up and up, the Brunses will make sure that the rights to the recipe are clear before the brewing begins. Some homebrewers may choose to forfeit the recipe to Factotum in exchange for the opportunity; others may sell their recipes or agree to give Factotum a portion of the proceeds if the homebrewer every uses it commercially.
Chris and Laura hope to open Factotum, whose name means "a jack-of-all trades," this September with four taps. Eventually, Chris would like to expand to eight taps.
The duo has been working on the idea for a brewery for more than two years and got their own experience by taking business classes and enrolling in the renowned Brewery Immersion Course that Tom Hennessey has offered for years at his Colorado Boy Pub and Brewery in the town of Ridgway.
And although the Brunses will rely on homebrewers for their recipes, Chris says he plans to brew some of his own beers as well in order to complement the styles already on tap/ "We will organize it so we don't have four wheats at the same time," he says.
When it opens, Factotum will be just a few blocks from another brewery that plans to open this year. Diebolt Brewing, at 3855 Mariposa Street, is owned by the father-and-son team of Dan and Jack Diebolt, and is slated to being operating this summer.
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