Zephyr Brewing, opening later this year, is the latest startup to target River North

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

The owners of Zephyr Brewing tell an increasingly common story: The crew of Colorado natives wanted to start a brewery in Denver, but couldn't find a good spot in Washington Park or Capitol Hill, so they headed to River North.

"We were looking for up-and-coming neighborhoods," says Brian Wood, who will own the brewery with friends Tyler Shuey and Rich Wisniewski. "At the time, I didn't know about Crooked Stave and Epic coming along. We ran into this building, an empty warehouse that was like a blank slate for us... It worked."

See also: Mockery Brewing will open in 2014 as the sixth brewery in Denver's hottest beer neighborhood

The spot, at 2601 Walnut Street, is just two blocks from River North Brewery, but it will also share the neighborhood with Crooked Stave, Epic, Black Shirt, Our Mutual Friend, as well as Mockery Brewery, which is planning to open next March.

In addition, two other small breweries are working on opening in RiNo in 2014, and the much larger Great Divide is hoping to build a huge new facility there as well.

"We can find our niche in the neighborhood. We will be different enough that we will be able to find our own crowd," Wood says. "It should be a good neighborhood. We are not as far north as some of the others, so maybe we'll get some Coors Field traffic."

All three owners were raised in Aurora and have known each other for 25 years. Wood and Shuey both went to the University of Colorado in Boulder and ended up working in the high-tech industry -- Wood as a computer scientist and Shuey as an aerospace engineer. Wisniewski, a manager at Stadium Inn, is a locally recognized bartender.

Although Wood and Shuey are homebrewers, they've gotten their training from Tom Hennessy of Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery in Ridgway, who has written a book on brewery management and teaches a class for would-be brewery owners.

They've purchased their seven-barrel brewing system from Bennett Forgeworks, which is also located in Ridgway and has an increasing number of customers around the state.

"We're going with a homegrown Colorado theme," Wood says.

Zephyr's initial lineup will include a stout, an IPA, a Scotch Ale and a wheat, but they'll also have four rotating seasonal selections. The taproom will be able to hold ninety people, and there will be a small outdoor patio.

Zephyr's owners hope to open by the end of the year.



's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.