Tommyknocker Brewing doubles its output, changes its look

Many of the bigger craft breweries across the country overhaul their image every three or four years, adding beers to the lineup, changing their look or their labels.

But time moves a little slower in Idaho Springs.

"We are doing a whole image revamp," says Steve Indrehus, the head brewer for the Tommyknocker Brewery. "It's the first time in sixteen years. Our concept has become slightly antiquated."

Tommyknocker was founded in 1994 and quickly became one of the better known microbreweries in the state. But it has long been surpassed -- when it comes to name recognition and devotees -- by dozens of other Colorado breweries. Recently, however, Tommyknocker has been climbing back into the public consciousness with beers like Hop Strike Rye IPA and Colorado IPA Nouveau.

But like other Colorado microbreweries, it is still growing - quickly. Tommyknocker made around 8,000 barrels of beer in 2010, but after a major expansion that is underway right now, the company plans to brew about 14,000 barrels in 2011.

This month, Tommyknocker will temporarily remove its roof so it can add four 85-barrel tanks and one forty-barrel tank. And after buying the building next door, the brewery will also add 122 seats and a conference room in the 8,000-square foot addition.

"It's a good time to be in the craft beer business," Indrehus says.

The goal of the redesign, he says, it to replace the cartoonish characters on most of Tommyknocker's bottles with an image designed by Seattle artist Von Glitschka. "It's edgy and its' supposed to be. Some won't like it, but some will."

TundraBeary, a summer seasonal flavored with berry juice, will be the first beer to get the new logo this month, but the rest will follow over the course of the year.

The new logo will make it easier for Tommyknocker to add new brands and beer styles in the future - something it had some success with recently with Hop Strike, a rye IPA that Tommyknocker brewed for a special event in Alabama, but which has since turned into one of the brewery's best sellers. In fact, it will be coming out in six-packs soon.

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan.

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