DENVER – Wynkoop Holdings, Inc. (parent company of Wynkoop Brewing Company and seven Colorado restaurants and brewpubs) and Breckenridge Holding Company (owner and operator of Breckenridge Brewery and four Colorado brewpubs and taphouses) have completed the details for a 50/50 joint venture between the two trailblazing companies.
The details officially unite two of Colorado’s pioneering and prominent craft brewers into one collective. The arrangement will allow the breweries to share talent, management, brewing facilities and purchasing power for expanding and developing each company’s business.
The joint venture creates a new brewing force with over four decades of craft beer experience, a production brewery with a current capacity of 45,000 barrels, three brewpubs, and combined brewing production of nearly 40,000 barrels of craft beer in 2010.
The tag team is already making its first collective moves. Wynkoop head brewer Andy Brown has been working out on Breckenridge’s 50-barrel system, in preparation for brewing there later this month. The canned and kegged versions of Wynkoop’s Rail Yard Ale and Silverback Pale Ale will be brewed and canned at the Breckenridge facility in Denver.
Soon both Breckenridge and Wynkoop microcanned beers will be packaged on new equipment. The collective has made its first joint purchase, a prototype automatic canning machine that will quadruple the breweries’ canning speeds. It will allow both breweries to add new canned beers this summer, including Breckenridge’s SummerBright Ale.
The machine is being produced by Wild Goose Engineering, a Boulder, Colorado engineering and manufacturing firm that’s entering the expanding microcanning niche.
“Both of our outfits buy local as much as possible,” says Wynkoop’s Marty Jones. “This is a great way for us to ramp up that effort, right down to the gear we use to package our beer. And the move allows us to help a scrappy, local startup get started in a much better fashion.”
Wynkoop and Breckenridge staffers have also begun work on a collaborative beer that will reach the Denver area’s best beer establishments in May. The draft-only beer is a Belgian-style strong ale unlike any beer the two have made in the past.
“One of the key goals in this effort is to get more great beer into the glasses of devout beer lovers,” says Breckenridge head brewer Todd Usry. “This is the first in a series of collaborative beers that’ll do that.”
Breckenridge and Wynkoop’s combined establishments include high-profile restaurants, brewpubs and alehouses in Denver, Grand Junction and Breckenridge’s namesake town in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
In April that list grows with the addition of Breckenridge’s new Ale House at Amato’s, a large, beer-focused restaurant featuring 40 largely Colorado beers in the Lower Highlands neighborhood of Denver.
Wynkoop Brewing Company was founded in 1988 by Denver mayor John Hickenlooper and a group of urban pioneers that included Mark Schiffler (current Wynkoop COO) and Ron Robinson, Wynkoop’s current GM.
Breckenridge Brewery was founded in 1990 in Breckenridge, Colorado and is the third-oldest craft brewery Colorado.