Six weeks after Boulder Beer Company said that it would have to cease packaging and distributing its beer and would lay off more than twenty people, the brewery is putting the majority of its equipment up for auction.
The equipment had been used to brew, store, keg, bottle and can large quantities of beer that were sold in Colorado and several other states. Boulder Beer no longer needs it, however, as the forty-year-old craft brewery has decided to focus just on brewing small batches for its taproom and restaurant at 2880 Wilderness Place in Boulder.
And the now-unnecessary equipment could be quite a haul. Featured items include 27 fermenters and brite tanks ranging in size from ninety barrels to 300 barrels, a 2014 Palmer can filling line, a Krones bottling and label line, a 2016 Hamrick drop case packer, more than 1,000 kegs and support equipment.
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The online auction is being conducted by New Mill Capital, a national asset acquisition and disposition firm that often handles brewery auctions. Bidding opens Wednesday, November 27, and closes on Wednesday, December 4. To see an auction brochure, photos and more information, go to the New Mill website.
Boulder Beer isn't selling its fifty-barrel brewhouse, though it will shut it down in favor of a much smaller system. The final batch of beer made on the big system and sent to market was an oak-aged Strong Golden Ale with pineapple and champagne yeast brewed to commemorate the company's fortieth anniversary, ironically.
As Colorado's oldest microbrewery, Boulder Beer has seen a lot of change since 1979, but this latest blow was a particularly difficult one because of the layoffs. The brewery's ownership group, which is led by longtime Boulder restaurant and brewery industry investor Gina Day, looked at a wide variety of options, but felt that this was the most viable decision, based on how competitive the craft-beer market has become — especially for packaging breweries, a brewery spokeswoman told Westword in October.
Several other Colorado brewpubs have ceased packaging over the past couple of years, notably Wynkoop Brewing in Denver, as well as Twisted Pine Brewing in Boulder. And soon Boulder Beer will live up to its name, brewing beer in Boulder — and only for Boulder.