Boulder Beer Company to Sell Brewpub Building, Transition to Contract Brewed Brand

Three months after announcing plans to pivot to a brewpub business model, Boulder Beer Company today announced plans to sell its brewpub building and pivot once more to a contract brewing model.

In an email Monday to Boulder Beer consumers, owner Gina Day announced that the brewpub will close on January 18.

“Some outside influences have recently transpired that have led us to make business decisions we feel are best for the company,” she wrote. “An opportunity to sell the building at 2880 Wilderness Place recently presented itself to us, which has led us to the decision to close The Pub at Boulder Beer.”

In recent months, Boulder has announced several changes to its business model, citing increased competition within the craft brewing industry.

In October, the company announced it would cease distribution to its 27-state footprint and retrench to a brewpub-only model.

However, by December, Boulder Beer’s model changed once more, as the company announced a partnership with Denver-based contract brewery Sleeping Giant to brew, sell and distribute six Boulder offerings.

With the contract brewing arrangement in place, keeping the brewpub appeared untenable.

“We feel it is now in our best interest to pursue this opportunity to sell the building,” Day wrote. “The 19,000 square foot production facility has proven to be too large for our brewpub to operate within.”

Although the brewpub will close later this month, Day wrote that the contract arrangement with Sleeping Giant remains in place.

“They will continue to brew, package and distribute the Boulder Beer brands we all know and love and keep the Boulder Beer legacy alive at retail,” she wrote. “So although the Pub will be closing, the brands will live on.”

Production at Boulder Beer, which was founded in 1979 by David Hummer and Randolph “Stick” Ware, a pair of University of Colorado-Boulder astrophysics professors and homebrewers, has declined steadily in recent years. In 2018, the company produced 16,305 barrels of beer, down from its most recent peak of 29,333 barrels in 2014, according to data from the Brewers Association.

About 20 of Boulder Beer’s 50 employees were laid off when the company ceased brewing beer for distribution. Remaining employees will be able to apply for jobs at Boulder Beer’s sister company, Concept Restaurants, Day wrote.

“Boulder Beer has made a conscious effort to arrange employment for all 30 members of our full and part time staff with Concept Restaurants, of which Gina’s husband Frank Day is the founder,” director of marketing Tess McFadden told Brewbound. “Opportunities exist at his new restaurant Su Taco opening later this month in downtown Denver on Larimer, the Hotel Boulderado, Stout Street Social and the Table Mountain Inn.”

In closing her letter, Day didn’t rule out a potential future Boulder Beer pub opening in another taproom.

“With all of these changes it isn’t out of the picture that you may see a new Boulder Beer Pub open sometime down the road,” she wrote.

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