In what may be one of the most perfect meetings between Denver's past and its future, the new makers of Tivoli Beer will open their own brewery, taproom and restaurant inside the historic former home of the original Tivoli Brewing Company on the Auraria Campus.
Tivoli Brewing co-owner Corey Marshall and the Auraria Higher Education Center announced this afternoon that the brewery has signed a long-term lease for 8,000 square feet of space inside the landmark Tivoli Student Union building.
When the Tivoli Brewery and Taproom is complete, sometime in early 2015, Metropolitan State University of Denver's Hospitality, Tourism and Events program will use it to help train students in its beverage-management program and to "develop new courses with an emphasis on teaching skills that apply to a wide variety of potential employment opportunities, including brewing sciences, beer industry operations, sales and marketing, and brewpub operations to support the workforce needs of Colorado's growing craft-beer industry," the school says.
The original Tivoli Brewing was founded in 1900 — the heir to other breweries that had started in the late 1850s mear the same location — and eventually became one of the largest beer-makers in the nation, producing 150,000 barrels a year. It was sold in 1965, however, and went out of business four years later after suffering through both the devastating South Platte River flood and an employee strike.
In 2012, Marshall and his wife, Debbie, bought the lapsed trademarks to the name Tivoli — along with several other long-forgotten Denver beer brands like Sigi's, Zang's and Neef Brothers — and began brewing close approximations of the original German-style lagers at Prost Brewing, with help from the Tivoli's last brewmaster. (Tivoli has since added Sigi's Buck Beer to the lineup, and now sells its beers to accounts all over the Denver area.)
Around the same time, Metro began looking for a way to incorporate Colorado's burgeoning craft-brewing industry into its hospitality program. "They reached out to us and we started having having discussions about it," Marshall says. "After a series of proposals, we finally got approval to move forward. It has been a long process but it went well."
Tivoli will install its own thirty-barrel brewhouse inside what used to be the boiler room in the original brewery, along with eight vertical 75-barrel fermentation tanks and nine 75-barrel lagering tanks. The original Tivioli kettles, which have been on display inside the building for years, will remain as part of the décor, Marshall says. Other historic elements, like the smokestack and a brick archway, will also be preserved.
When it opens, the taproom will expand its historic Denver beer offerings beyond Tivoli and Sigi's, using the Zang's and Neef Brothers names. It will also serve beers distributed by Tivoli's sister company, Tivoli Distributing; these include beers from smaller Colorado craft breweries like Gravity Brewing, Hall Brewing, Odyssey Brewing and Aspen Brewing.
But students in Metro's Hotel Management program will also compete to design new beers and marketing campaigns; the winners will be able to brew and serve their beer in the taproom, Marshall says, and possibly have it packaged and sold outside the brewery.
"The industry is important economically to our state and it needs great education programs to feed it," Marshall adds. "We will be part of developing the courses and providing the technical expertise. And it will be a comprehensive beer education program — not just the science of brewing beer, but also research and development, how to run a taproom, sales and marketing, distribution, quality control, packaging, logistics, you name it. Students should be able to walk out of this program and immediately contribute in many ways."
"We are thrilled to have Tivoli Brewing Company back in operation on campus," says Barbara Weiske, executive vice president for administration and chief executive officer of the Auraria Higher Education Center, in a statement announcing the project. "The academic collaborations that are being developed around this craft make it a unique partnership for all constituents involved."
The restaurant part of the brewery will serve small plates, panini and other sandwiches, flatbreads, salads and soups.
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Marshall, a Colorado native and former Coors employee, worked as a bouncer in the 1980s in the Tivoli building, which then housed the Tijuana Yacht Club and Boiler Room bars. It later became the student union; the space that will become the brewery most recently held a student lounge and the now-closed Cimarron Cafe.