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At one time, Tivoli Distributing represented several Colorado breweries.EXPAND
At one time, Tivoli Distributing represented several Colorado breweries.
Jonathan Shikes

Tivoli Brewing Shuts Down Distributorship; Brewery Founder Exits

Tivoli Brewing Co., which was founded in 2012 by Corey and Debbie Marshall in an effort to revive historic Denver beers and brewery names from the past 150 years, just announced that the company will close its small distribution arm, putting an end to one of the few independent beer wholesalers in Colorado.

“After a detailed strategic review, Tivoli Brewing Co has decided to reshape our business to align with our longterm vision to invest in and grow Tivoli Brewing Co and the Tivoli brand,” the brewery says in a statement released June 6. “To better serve this vision for our own brand and our supplier partner brands, we have made the difficult decision to close down the business operations of Tivoli Distributing Company over the next sixty days.”

The company itself has also been restructured. New CEO Ken Hehir, who was hired in March by Tivoli Brewing Co.’s board of directors and who oversaw the strategic review, has replaced Corey Marshall.

Corey and Debbie Marshall
Corey and Debbie Marshall
Brandon Marshall for Westword

“Corey will always be the founder...and will retain a seat on the board, but he’s no longer involved in the day-to-day operations,” says Hehir, a longtime brewery sales and marketing specialist who has worked with the Molson Coors, Newcastle and Pyramid breweries over his 25-year career.

Hehir doesn't elaborate on the reasons for the change at Tivoli, which is owned by a 38-member investment group.

Marshall says that he will stay involved with the strategic direction of the company through his position on the board, but that he is moving on to "new and larger adventures."

As for the distributorship, he says he's excited that his brand will continue to be distributed by "my good friends" at Elite and High Country Beverage, adding, "I know they will do a fantastic job."

Tivoli Distributing was founded in 2013, a year after the brewery started making beer; its first customer was Grimm Brothers Brewhouse in Loveland. Over the years, it has represented more than fifteen breweries and cider makers. Some had left prior to the announcement, and the rest will be phased out. Tivoli beer itself will now be distributed by Elite Brands of Colorado, a large independent wholesaler focused on craft beer.

The distributorship currently has twelve brands and twenty employees, so it will shrink substantially. Hehir says the company is trying to find jobs for those employees in the brewery or with other companies.

Tivoli Brewing Shuts Down Distributorship; Brewery Founder Exits
Tivoli Brewing

Going forward, Hehir says, the brewery will focus on its own beer and its own brands, as well as continuing its partnership with Metropolitan State University of Denver; Tivoli is located in the Tivoli Student Union on the Auraria campus. It's preparing to open a second brewhouse inside the Westin Denver International Airport.

"If anything, we are doubling down on the beer and the brands," Hehir adds. "Our brand will be a lot stronger with [Elite's] professional distribution network." Tivoli's sales are up 91 percent this year over the same five-month period in 2017, he notes, "so we are coming from a position of strength."

Here is the full announcement:

After a detailed strategic review, Tivoli Brewing Co has decided to reshape our business to align with our long term vision to invest in and grow Tivoli Brewing Co. and the Tivoli Brand. To better serve this vision for our own brand, and our supplier partner brands, we have made the difficult decision to close down the business operations of Tivoli Distributing Company over the next 60 days.

We are actively pursuing opportunities for our Distribution Company employees with Tivoli Brewing Co and external sources. We will also be working with our supplier brands to ensure a smooth transition period as they make alternative distribution arrangements and those details will be announced as they are finalized.

We are pleased to announce that to support our long term growth ambition, effective June 18th 2018, Tivoli Brewing Co. will be distributed in Colorado by Elite Brands of Colorado and High Country Beverage. Both companies share our values and our long term ambitions for the Tivoli Brand in the progressive Colorado beer landscape and we are anticipating great things from our new relationships.

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