Silverton Brewing is canning and plans to distribute statewide

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Update: The deal between Steamworks and SEAR appears to be off; not sure yet what that means for Silverton Click here for info...

Silverton Brewing Company, a small pub that had never shipped its beer beyond the Silverton city limits until this year, plans to start distributing statewide this summer thanks to a shake-up at another Southern Colorado brewery.

Founded in 2004 by Joel and Katherine Harvie, Silverton Brewing began selling three of its canned brews, Ice Pick Ale, Bear-Ass Brown and Red Mountain Ale, in January to several Western Slope liquor stores. (Bear-Ass and Red Mountain took home medals in the Denver International Beer Competition last weekend.)

Then, in April, a Texas investment company called SEAR Capitol took over Steamworks Brewing Company's former canning plant and restaurant in the town of Bayfield and renamed it the Bayfield Brewing Company. Durango-based Steamworks had closed the operation in January after suffering serious financial problems; the brewery still cans some of its beers at its original brewery and restaurant in Durango.

SEAR's goal is to begin contract brewing and canning beers from other microbreweries, including Steamworks. Silverton Brewing also signed on, says Joel Harvie.

"We want to go statewide, but we currently have only a small, five-barrel brewing system," he says. "So we can't produce enough in house to satisfy the entire state of Colorado. This will let us do that."

Bayfield is close enough to Durango that Silverton Brewing's head brewer will be able to oversee production of his beer at the Bayfield plant, Harvie adds.

"We aren't giving up autonomy or control over the product that way. We might even be able to improve it."

The Bayfield plant will begin making Silverton Brewing's beer, in sixty-barrel batches, by the end of May and it may be available for distribution shortly thereafter.

Silverton plans to can a fourth beer, Gold Mine Lager, at that time as well.

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