3 Colorado Breweries Merge to form the Brewer’s Co-Hop

Three Colorado breweries — Renegade Brewing, Good River Beer and Rocky Mountain Sector — have merged to create the Brewer’s Co-Hop, a new business venture that will share a production facility and back-of-house resources in Denver.

The three breweries will share brewing and administrative space in a 15,000 sq. ft. facility in Denver’s Baker neighborhood. The facility previously served as Renegade’s production brewery, which the brewer had listed for sale for $1.2 million last year, according to Denver alt-weekly newspaper Westword. The building will also house Good River’s first taproom, which will serve beers from the other two brands on guest taps.

Good River co-founder Adam Odoski told Brewbound that the cooperative grew out of his company’s initial attempt to acquire Renegade’s facility.

“It came about because Good River Beer put in an offer to purchase Renegade’s production facility and as Renegade was transferring knowledge to Good River, everyone realized that there was a better way to do things and that everyone could accomplish more by working together,” he wrote in an email.

The new facility is capable of producing as much as 10,000 barrels of beer annually, Brewer’s Co-Hop marketing manager Sarah Nelson told Brewbound.

According to data from national trade group the Brewers Association, in 2018, Renegade produced 3,280 barrels of beer, while Good River produced 2,189 barrels. Rocky Mountain Sector opened in April.

Details of each brand’s ownership stake in the newly formed co-op were not available, and attempts to clarify the business structure were unreturned.

Renegade, which was founded in 2011 by Brian O’Connell, sold an unknown yet “significant” stake in the company to investment firm Silver Fox Partners in 2017, according to a report from Westword.

Both the Brewer’s Co-Hop and Rocky Mountain Sector were registered as businesses on April 29, and the Colorado Secretary of State’s website lists Little River Collective as the “true name” for both. Little River Collective lists Little Pub Holdings, a management company with investments in Colorado bars and restaurants, as the entity that registered it with the state. Westword reported that Little Pub’s Mark Berzins partially owns Rocky Mountain Sector.

According to Nelson, the three breweries will combine their administrative, marketing and sales efforts, while maintaining separate distribution footprints.

“Right now, we do have independent distribution strategies. “Those will stay independent, at least for now.”

Renegade distributes draft and packaged beer in Colorado, Kansas, Arizona, Ohio and Wisconsin. Good River, which opened in 2015, sells draft and packaged beer within Colorado. And Rocky Mountain Sector distributes draft beer within Denver.

The three brands’ brewing philosophies also differ enough that there is little overlap in their portfolios, Nelson said. She described Good River as producing “traditional, classic styles,” while Renegade makes beer with “bold flavors, pushing the boundaries of craft beer.” And Rocky Mountain Sector makes “crushable styles” that are “really easy drinking, light [and] refreshing.”

All three brands emphasize philanthropic efforts. That shared ethos helped solidify their partnership, according to the press release.

“Every company in the Co-Hop family is part of something bigger, something that makes this world a little bit better,” Odoski said in the release. “Each company has committed to help protect Colorado’s natural resources, support the local community, or in many cases both.”

Renegade’s Tap 4 Tap program partners with international nonprofit Water for People to donate one gallon of clean drinking water for every gallon of beer sold, according to the brand’s website. Good River’s 2% for Rivers foundation donates to the conservation and protection of rivers. Rocky Mountain Sector supports B:CIVIC, a Denver-based nonprofit that “promotes and advances corporate social responsibility for the betterment of all communities and businesses,” according to the charity’s website.

When the new facility’s taproom opens, Good River plans to host events and promotions for 2% for Rivers, Nelson said.

“2% for Rivers is really the heart of Good River Beer and their ethos so that will be incorporated in the taproom,” she said.

The combined company plans to open two additional taprooms in the future, Nelson said. Rocky Mountain Sector plans to open its own taproom in 2020, and a taproom that features all three breweries’ beer is planned for Arvada, Colorado.

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