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River North Brewery May Be Forced to Move, Plans to Expand Production Space

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River North Brewery, which opened at 24th and Blake Streets in February 2012 as the first new beer maker in the district, may become a victim of the neighborhood it is named after. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Brewery founder Matthew Hess says that the owners of his building — a holding company called 2401 Blake Street Ventures LLC — are looking to redevelop the property into an apartment complex.

“I think it's likely that we are going to be forced out,” he explains, adding that his lease expires in about a year and a half, but that he may have to vacate the building sooner than that. “Everything is up in the air right now.”

2401 Blake LLC is registered to an office housing various businesses run by the Dikeou family, who own parking lots and other ventures in Denver. City records show that 2401 Blake LLC has applied for a utility easement for the address under the name Blake Street Apartments. No one from the Dikeou family could be reached for comment.
If there is a change, the timing may not be so bad, as River North has been actively searching for a larger production facility where it could expand its brewing and packaging operations, similar to what other rapidly expanding new breweries, like Denver Beer Co. and Renegade Brewing, have done.

“We are definitely packed to the brim in here,” says Hess. River North expects to make 2,500 barrels of beer in 2015, up from 1,352 last year. “We are looking as hard as humanly possible to come out bigger and better.”

While Hess says he'd like to find a production space in River North, that might not be possible because of how quickly the area is developing. “It doesn't make sense to do an industrial facility here,” he explains. “So, we would go with a smaller tap-room-focused River North space and a larger production-oriented space that would possibly be somewhere else.”

In other words, Hess would have two locations if things go well.

The brewery is in negotiations for a production space right now, although Hess didn't want to say where it is; he hopes to have something signed by the summer.

River North Brewery occupies a building that once housed Flying Dog Brewing, which moved to Maryland in 2007.


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