Beer Man

Loveland's Grimm Brothers teams up with Tivoli to distribute beer in Denver

The owners of Tivoli Brewing, which began making and selling historic Denver beer brands last year, have also formed a craft beer distributing company, and they will get rolling this week with Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, an up-and-coming Loveland beer maker that has wanted to start selling its beers to the Denver market after a recent brewhouse expansion gave it more capacity.

See also: - Tivoli Brewing plans its second historic Denver beer, Sigi's - The Strange Days beer fest -- a Westword slide show. - Grimm Brothers Brewhouse opens tomorrow in Loveland serving German-style beers

Tivoli Distributing will immediately begin selling packaged Grimm Brothers beer to liquor stores in Boulder and Denver -- beers like Little Red Cap altbier and Fearless Youth dunkel, in addition specialty and seasonal beers like Farmer's Daughter and Sooty Brother.

"We completed a production expansion this fall, but wanted to make sure that the transition to distributors we took things slowly and didn't have any supply issues," says Grimm spokesman Russell Fruits. The brewery used American Eagle Distribution in norther Colorado, but had been self-distributing elsewhere since last November.

Grimm, which primarily makes German-style lagers and ales, was founded in 2010 and has been building a reputation outside of northern Colorado at festivals and other events. Fruits was responsible for organizing the Strange Days beer fest and fundraiser last month.

Grimm recently added new fermenters that will give it enough capacity to supply larger markets in Colorado.

Tivoli was created last year by Corey and Debbie Marshall, who have acquired the trademarks to several historic Denver beer names, like Tivoli itself, along with Zang's and Sigi's. They brewed their first one, Tivoli, at Prost Brewing in Denver; Sigi's is expected to debut this month. Both are German-style lagers.

Grimm is Tivoli's first account, aside from its own beer, but Corey Marshall says the company hopes to make more announcement in the next couple of months.

"We would like to keep our distributorship relatively small with a portfolio of brands that compliment each other and don't compete for the same space," he says.

Since it is difficult and sometimes inefficient for small breweries to distribute their own beer, the only way to be profitable is to pool resources, he explains. "We see distribution as one of the biggest challenges of growing a small craft beer business...current alternative options for distribution have some large downsides in terms of competition for share of mind with the large quantity of brands in distributor's portfolios."

In other words, he adds, small breweries can get lost when they are distributed by a company that is focused more on megabreweries or on large craft breweries.

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