The owners of Sanitas Brewing aren't planning to gently test the waters of Boulder's increasingly-crowded craft-beer scene when they open their 15,000-square-foot, fifteen-barrel brewery and taproom this summer. They plan to jump in head-first.
Sanitas co-founders Chris Coyne, Michael Memsic and Zach Nichols will offer two year-round canned beers, a black IPA and a saison, as soon as they open, probably in August; they'll package them on a canning line purchased from Boulder's Wild Goose Engineering, which makes lines for Upslope, Breckenridge and others.
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"The margins on pints sold out of the taproom are more significant than with cans, but in order to get into the market and get the exposure we need in order to grow, we thought it was important to get the product out there," says Nichols.
Most new breweries don't package their beers right away -- typically waiting months or even years before doing so -- but it has always been part of Sanitas's business plan. And since packaging was important to them, the owners decided to buy their own line, rather than to hire Longmont's Mobile Canning, which cans beer for many small breweries in Colorado that either don't have the space for a line or can't afford one.
"We will be self-distributing right off the bat," says Nichols, who also designed the labels on the cans. "The plan is to fill Boulder as quickly as we can and go from there. We don't want to overextend ourselves. We want slow, methodical growth."
The two beer styles that Sanitas chose, while not uncommon in themselves, are fairly rare in cans in Colorado, despite the number of beer makers who are canning here.
"We played around with doing an extra pale ale or a pilsner, but we want to try to do something different whenever we can, so that is where the saison came into play," Nichols explains. The beer will have "an unorthodox blend of hops," while being dry and light. The black IPA will be much hoppier, but still easy to drink, he adds.
Sanitas will brew numerous other styles for the taproom, including some barrel-aged styles, and may package a few in cork-and-cage bottles. The saison and the black IPA will be sold in six-packs of twelve-ounce cans.
The owners had first planned to open Sanitas Brewing in a former U.S. Postal Service sorting center at 1860 38th Street, but changed course after running into some problems there. The new location, at 3550 Frontier Avenue, will include a large patio and three-season beer garden covered with solar panels (and with a view of Mount Sanitas), along with an indoor-outdoor bar and large windows so that visitors can see the brewhouse.
"We have more space than we need right now, but we're hoping to grow into it fairly quickly," Nichols explains. "A lot of the breweries in the area are blowing up with growth, and you hear a lot about people running out of room for brewing and packaging. So we decided to start with more space and to try to avoid those headaches."
Sanitas is located just blocks from the Boulder Beer, Twisted Pine and Fate breweries, just over a mile from Avery, Bru, Wild Woods and Upslope's new location, but Nichols says the close proximity will make it easier for people to visit, especially on bicycles.
All three owners have worked in breweries before: Nichols at Redstone Meadery and Memsic and Coyne at Boulder Beer Company.
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