Renegade Brewing sells its Publik House to focus on brewing more beer

Just over a year ago Renegade Brewing opened Renegade Publik House, a restaurant and tap house in the underserved University of Denver neighborhood. Citing a need to re-focus on expanding beer production and making "more beers available to more people," owner and founder Brian O'Connell recently sold the Publik House, which will close on Tuesday, July 29, to make way for the new owners, who will continue bar and restaurant operations under a new name.

See also: Finkel & Garf Brewing now pouring in Gunbarrel

The new owners of the Publik space, Christopher Topham and Jason Ladd, may be changing the name to Asbury Provisions -- a nod to their Pennsylvania roots -- but haven't given up on the public. They've started an Indiegogo campaign. to raise funds for their new concept.

According to their Indiegogo page, the two see the DU location as "ripe with opportunity and begging for something different." Their plans still include beer, along with a menu that will be "small and consist of dishes that help elevate the drinking experience." The crowdfunding campaign indicates that money raised will be applied to new signage, new kitchen equipment and new interior decor; it also gives a target grand opening date of September 1.

Meanwhile, O'Connell and his crew at Renegade Brewing are expanding their three-year-old brewery into a new, 15,000 square-foot space just a few blocks south of the original brewery and tap room (which will remain open). According to O'Connell, the expansion will give them room for a new canning line, space for barrel aging and bottling, and additional brewing equipment to take their annual capacity from 2,000 barrels to 5,000, with the potential to put out as much as 20,000 barrels annually.

The expansion means Renegade will be able to offer four year-round canned beers plus four seasonals to a much larger area of Colorado, he continues. Once the new facility is on-line -- O'Connell is hoping for late October -- Renegade will be able to increase its presence in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins as well as expanding west into mountain towns and the Western Slope.

He says the barrel-aging program will also receive a boost, allowing them to bottle more favorites like barrel-aged Elevation Triple IPA and Hammer and Sickle Russian Imperial Stout, as well as "fun, crazy stuff" like small batches of strong beers aged in brandy or tequila barrels. They also plan to add a tap room in the new space, but right now just want to concentrate on getting the new equipment up and running.

"As much as I have loved starting the Publik House and seeing it grow into a new community of craft beer in the DU neighborhood, I knew this was an opportunity to focus more on what Renegade does best, brewing beer," says O'Connell.

In the meantime, the new owners have offered current Publik House employees the option of staying on, O'Connell notes.

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