Tom Schurmann came up in the automotive business, detailing cars, selling tires and wheels — "all kinds of things," he says — and got into the home-brewing industry accidentally, when he realized that beer makers were buying and using some of the parts he was selling for their brewing systems.
"Automotive is very competitive," he says. "Your competition isn't your friend."
So when Schurmann switched industries and opened Tom's Brew Shop in Lakewood, he wasn't expecting things in the brewing world to be any different. When he operated a booth at his first Great American Beer Festival a decade ago as the owner of Tom's, he was a little concerned when he saw the crew from another home-brew store, the Brew Hut in Aurora, walking up to him in their logo-embossed shirts.
"They came up and said, 'We've heard good things about you. Anything you need, let us know,'" he recalls. "Well, I went outside — because you can't hear anything in there — and called my wife, Eileen, and said, 'I'm in the right business now, honey.' Nobody in any other competitive business does something like that."
On Friday, the Schurmanns will take their business one step further by opening 6 and 40 Brewery, at 883 Parfet Street, next door to their home-brewing and winemaking shop. With 3,200 square feet and twenty taps that will initially pour at least ten beers, along with seltzer, kombucha and gluten-free beer, the brewery is named for State Highway 40 (Colfax Avenue) to the north of the brewery, and State Highway 6 (Sixth Avenue) to the south.
It will also serve as a "mini-museum" for vintage car memorabilia in what Schurmann, who says he has probably owned about 110 different vehicles in his life, calls "a retro mechanics’ garage environment."
The seven-barrel brewhouse will be operated by brewers José Quiñones and Josh Pierce, both employees of Tom's Brew Shop, who assembled the entire thing themselves (without instructions). They'll be turning out a wide variety of beers, including 32 Coupe American Cream Ale, Schalten German Pilsner, Three on the Tree West Coast IPA, Bochito Amber Mexican Lager, and Boot & Bonnet English Porter.
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As with the Brew Hut in Aurora, which is connected to Dry Dock Brewing, customers at 6 and 40 will be able to order a beer from the bar and then shop at Tom's if they want to. "We start off with several thousand loyal customers," Schurmann says. "They are a tremendous base."
The home-brewing industry has gone through many ups and downs over the years. Just five or six years ago, it was going gangbusters, Schurmann says, but then it fell off, and around two dozen shops closed in Colorado. More recently, however, it has taken off again as people who are spending more time at home because of the pandemic are looking to start new hobbies or take up old ones again.
“We are humbled by the community support we’ve received at the Brew Shop over the past ten years,” he adds. “There is a spirit in the craft-beer industry unlike any I’ve experienced."
The grand opening takes place today from noon to 9 p.m. with at least twelve different beverages on tap. Munkh's Mongolian food truck will be serving food.