Like most projects, the Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project has been a learning experience. Now owners Ben Gettinger, Andrew Moore and Nick Fredman are ready to take what they've learned and move on.
The group is looking to unload the lease to their two-year-old brewery at 925 West Eighth Avenue and to sell all of their furnishings and equipment, including the seven-barrel brewhouse, to another brewery or brewery-in-planning that is looking to open in Denver. Then they plan to take their most successful recipes and contract-brew them for canned distribution — not just in Colorado, but far and wide.
"This was a project," says Gettinger. "We wanted to test out beers and see what people liked. But our business plan was always to have a packaging brewery and distribute to as many states as possible."
It's a strategy that flies in the face of conventional wisdom right now: Many small and medium-sized breweries are making up for declining sales of canned and bottled beer by opening second or third taprooms.
But Gettinger, Moore and Fredman believe there is still room to sell their canned products, including their Basil IPA, Turkish Coffee Stout, Chamomile Hefeweizen and Lemongrass-Ginger Kolsch. Once they establish distribution in Colorado, they will add Indiana, the home state of all three brewers.
Running a taproom simply drained too much of their time and resources — time and resources that they would rather spend on selling, marketing and distributing beer. "We want to focus that time on getting into canning and on getting into states. That's where we want to spend our resources," Gettinger says.
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In addition, Moore says, Intrepid Sojourner will change its name to Next Stop BrewCo in order to simplify the branding and get away from the "clunkiness" of its current moniker. "Travel is what brought the three of us together," he adds, which is why the brewery's beers have been, and will continue to be, designed to help people explore new flavors and ingredients, or to help them reminisce about past experiences.
To make the change, however, Intrepid Sojourner will need to get out of its current space, which is listed at 2,488 square feet. Decorated with a travel theme, the brewery is packed to the gills with brewing equipment in the back, including 72 barrels' worth of capacity in its fermentation tanks. It could take some time before they find the right buyer, though, so the taproom is likely to stay open for the foreseeable future.
Although the brewery has limited parking and is located in a difficult spot to drive in and out of, it is also smack dab in the middle of the Art District on Santa Fe, something that Moore likes. "I will miss it," he says. "I enjoyed being in the creative community of like-minded people."