Wynkoop Brewing expands for the first time in thirteen years

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The Wynkoop Brewing Company is in the midst of expanding its brewing capacity for the first time in thirteen years -- since the days when brewery co-founder Mayor-turned-Governor John Hickenlooper was still slinging suds at the LoDo landmark.

In November, the brewery moved its four original twenty-barrel fermenters to the basement, where they will specialize in ales that take less time to ferment. In the meantime, the Wynkoop bought two more twenty-barrel fermenters from Denver's Del Norte Brewing. These will be used for lagers and other beers that take longer.

This spring, the Wynkoop will add another two twenty-barrel fermenters to the tight spaces behind the main bar. These will be used primarily for the B3K, the brewery's popular schwarzbier, which it will begin canning sometime this year.

To make the physical changes required inside the historic building, the brewery had to improvise, removing the ceiling in one area and lifting the barrels through it, says brewery spokesman Marty Jones.

The additions should help ease the pressure on the Wynkoop, which maxed out its capacity in 2011 at 3,870 barrels, up from 3,500 the year before. Much of that pressure came from sales of the Wynkoop's two canned offerings, Rail Yard Ale and Silverback IPA. In fact, the brewery was forced to stop production of several of its taproom beers in July to keep up with the demand for its canned brews.

At some point in the next few days or weeks, the federal government is expected to approve an application from the Wynkoop that will allow it to brew beer at Breckenridge Brewing; the two companies merged their financial operations at the end of 2010.

"They've made room for us over there," Jones says. "We're just waiting."

Once that happens, and with the increased in-house capacity, Jones believes the Wynkoop will brew more than 5,000 barrels of beer in 2012.

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