Beer Man

Frisco's Backcountry Brewery expands, will send bottled brews to Denver

For the past sixteen years, Backcountry Brewery has sold a lot of beer during the winter months and done decent business in the summer. But like any other ski-town brewery, it has struggled during the rest of the year. "Recently, we started experiencing more demand, but because of the seasonality up there, we couldn't really reach our full capacity, so the new owners wanted to reach out to more markets and get more visibility for our beer," says Alan Simons, who has been the head brewer for five years.

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As a result, Backcountry, which has a fifteen-barrel brewing system, recently finished installing ten new fifteen-barrel fermenters that will allow it to increase its production from about 1,100 barrels in 2012 to 4,000 barrels per year; the brewery, which took over some space next door, also added a new bottling line for six-packs.

"The goal," Simons says of brothers Charlie and Joe Eazor, who bought the brewery in 2010, "is to have more presence in Denver."

To celebrate, Backcountry will host an expansion party Saturday, January 19, from 1 to 6 p.m., when it will be giving tours of the expanded brewery, offering $2 pints and even handing out some its newly bottled pilsner.

By late February or early March, Backcountry hopes to begin distributing six-packs of its five year-round beers in Denver. Although the beers will be familiar to Backcountry fans, they've all been stripped of their fanciful names for the bottling process, so that they will just be called Pale Ale (formerly Telemark IPA), Pilsner, Amber, Porter and Wheat.

Eventually, Simons would like to bottle some of his seasonals as well.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes

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