Peculier Ales, which quickly made a name for itself in northern Colorado's brewing scene since opening last year in the town of Windsor, will add a second brewery and taproom this summer, taking over the vacant, 5,000-square-foot former C.B. & Potts location at 1831 East Mulberry Street in Fort Collins.
This is the second C.B. & Potts location to be repurposed by another brewery. The well-known restaurant and brewery chain, which got its start in Fort Collins in 1974, closed its Greenwood Village location in 2019; Denver chef Troy Guard bought the building, which he's turning into a high-concept food hall that will include the just-announced Little Dry Creek Brewery. Four more C.B. & Potts addresses closed in 2020 as a result of the pandemic; there's just one left, which is still open under new ownership.
“The reason we decided to jump on this opportunity was because distribution took off more than we expected,” says Peculier head brewer and co-owner Nick Armitage. Part of that was a result of signing on with Culture Beverage, a local craft-beer wholesaler, and part of it was because the pandemic created a huge demand for packaged beer while people were stuck at home and not drinking beer on draft.
“We are pushing out 300 to 400 cases of beer per week — plus some kegs now that things have opened up — and we discovered that we couldn’t make enough beer to keep up,” Armitage explains. “So we needed to either stop distribution or come up with another plan quickly."
And apparently the 35,000 residents of Windsor are very thirsty, because about 65 percent of what Peculier brews is sold out of the taproom, says Armitage, who got his start in brewing with New Belgium before taking a job at WeldWerks in 2015, just two months after it opened; he left in 2019 to open Peculier.
Peculier (and yes, the name is spelled like that on purpose) operates a seven-barrel brewing system at its location at the historic Windsor Mill development, but it is buying a twenty-barrel system for Fort Collins. Although the new lease came with C.B. & Potts’s original, circa 1996 brewing equipment, Armitage says it couldn't handle the more modern styles of beers he makes, which include heavily hopped New England-style IPAs and heavily fruited wheat beers. “I had a love of those beers, and being at WeldWerks cemented that love," Armitage says.
But he's also “investing heavily” in lagering tanks so that Peculier can make more pilsners, bocks and other lager styles, as well as its beers fermented with kviek yeast.
The taproom at the new location has fifty seats, a patio and a dozen taps. While the C.B. & Potts brewing equipment might have been old, the company had just built the location before the pandemic, so Armitage doesn’t need to make many changes aside from some minor construction and a coat of paint. As a result, he says, he plans to open in June or July.
“I’m sorry they had to close, but I’m grateful for the chance,” he says, noting that there was still year-old fermented beer sitting in the brewing tanks when he walked in earlier this month. “It’s also an opportunity to invest in another community.”
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