Patrick Crawford, co-owner of Denver Beer Co., brewed his first beer in the bathtub of a 400 square-foot apartment in Colorado Springs, according to the company’s website. The company has come a long way since then — and it will soon have more than 100 times that space to call its own.
Just two years after it opened its flagship (non-bathtub) brewery in August, 2011, the company announced plans yesterday to purchase a 48,000 square-foot warehouse, with 11,000 square feet to be used as a production brewing facility.
Without the building purchase, Crawford and co-owner Charlie Berger expect the project to cost around $2 million, a figure financed by bank and SBA loans, they said. They anticipate rolling out 5,000 barrels per year upon completion, as well as adding to their 16 employees for brewing and packaging operations.
This means fans of the Graham Cracker Porter, the brewery’s bestseller, will finally be able to pick up a 6-pack to take home.
“We’ve been getting requests at the bar non-stop for cans and bottles of beer,” said Crawford, explaining why they jumped at the opportunity to expand into the new facility that will play host to a 30-barrel brew house and four 60-barrel fermenters.
As of last year, beer sold in the Denver Beer Co. taproom accounted for 99 percent of the company’s overall sales. The beers that helped build the company will now be brewed primarily at its larger packaging facility, meaning Crawford and Berger have slightly adjusted plans for their home base.
“This place becomes more of a playground,” said Crawford, who noted last year that they brewed over 150 different kinds of beer in the span of a year.
Even with the expansion, the pair emphasized the importance of the brewery’s continued involvement in the Colorado craft beer scene. Long term plans to distribute outside the Centennial State might be ahead, but Denver Beer’s top priority remains strengthening the beer community where they live.
“The short term plan is to be really local,” said Berger. “We don’t want to be an inch deep and a mile wide.”