Beer Man

Great Divide Brewing gets a loan from the city to add new tanks

Great Divide Brewing Company loves the city of Denver, and Denver's city council members love Great Divide back.

On Monday night, the council approved a $175,000 loan from the Denver Office of Economic Development to Great Divide (a final reading will take place next Monday). The money will allow the brewery to buy three carbonating tanks and two new three hundred-barrel, thirty-foot tall fermenting tanks that it will put outside, behind the building at 2201 Arapahoe Street.

It's the fifth time since the brewery opened in 1994 that it has borrowed money from OED, says Great Divide owner Brian Dunn. The other loans helped pay for small portions of the business's start-up costs, its bottling line, its tap room and its building. All told, Great Divide has borrowed more than $500,000 from the city.

The OED provides what is called "gap" financing, Dunn explains. What that means is that businesses have to raise a significant amount of their own funding before the agency steps in. "When we first started, I raised 90 percent of the money myself, and then eleven banks said 'no' to me. The city said 'yes.' I'm not sure I would be here otherwise."

Job creation was a key reason why the city offered Great Divide the loan, says OED spokesman Derek Woodbury. Great Divide, which has 22 employees, will also hire three or four new employees.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes