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Fort Collins Brewery plans major expansion, new beers, marketing push

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With at least nine craft breweries and more on the way, Fort Collins is one of Colorado's hottest spots for beer. But beyond New Belgium, Odell and now Funkwerks -- which won Small Brewing Company of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival in 2012 -- most beer drinkers outside the northern part of the state probably can't name the other players.

The Fort Collins Brewery, which was founded in 2003, plans to change that in 2013 with a major expansion, a big marketing push in the Denver area, and some new beers.

See also: - Fort Collins and Funkwerks step up in a down year for Colorado GABF medals - Silverton Brewing gets a little help from its friends in Fort Collins - Fort Collins Brewery's newest beer is, uh, black and strapping -- and a part of a growing trend

"We are moving into a period of what we think will be rapid growth," says new brewery spokesman Charles Stanley, whose job was also part of that growth.

In 2010, the Fort Collins Brewery built a brand-new, $4 million, 30,000-square-foot brewery and an attached restaurant called Gravity 1020; the company, owned by Tom and Jan Peters, also added some huge new tanks to increase production.

This fall, FCB will complete the final part of that expansion by replacing its twenty-barrel brewhouse with a fifty-barrel system and four new 150-barrel fermenters that should allow the company to make up to 32,000 barrels in 2014. The automated brewhouse will be built in Germany and should arrive this September.

"Once we get it installed, we will sell the twenty-barrel brewhouse and get a smaller, pilot brewhouse to do experimental beers on," Stanley says.

FCB will also begin paying more attention to selling beer in Colorado -- it currently distributes to seventeen states -- ramping up sales of its various brands and implementing a few changes to the beer lineup.

The brewery, for instance, will stop producing its series of one-off Incredible Hop beers and plans to release a new brew this spring in four-packs called Hoptitude Imperial Extra Pale Ale. It will be a warm-weather seasonal that balances FCB's winter four-pack, Double Chocolate Stout.

Hoptitude is a 7.5 percent ABV ale with a strong malt backbone and a strong but not extremely bitter hop presence that comes from Pacifica hops from New Zealand. Says Stanley, "It's a bigger beer, but a refreshing one as well."


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