The outside of Boulder Beer Co.'s taproom on Wilderness Place. The brewery announced it sold the building Jan. 6. Dan Mika/BizWest

Boulder Beer says goodbye to its taproom

BOULDER — After 40 years in business, the hours are dwindling down to a precious few for Colorado’s first microbrewery.

Saturday is the last day of operation for Boulder Beer Co.’s taproom in east Boulder. No special activities are planned during regular business hours from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., said Tess McFadden, Boulder Beer’s marketing manager; there’ll just be time to “celebrate life, tell stories and raise a last pint.

“We’re expecting it to be a crazy day,” she said. Since the announcement in early January that Boulder Beer would sell its building at 2880 Wilderness Place, just west of Foothills Parkway, “it’s been so busy — “wall to wall bodies every day.”

More than 400 microbreweries operate in Colorado today, but in 1979 Boulder Beer was the first — and one of only a few dozen nationwide. In recent years, those breweries have had to stay afloat amid a wave of market saturation and corporate upheavals including employee-owned New Belgium Brewing’s sale to an international conglomerate and Molson Coors closing its Denver office.

Boulder Beer rocked the local craft-brewing scene last fall when it announced it would downsize and end national distribution of its beers, and followed that by signing an agreement with Denver-based contract brewery Sleeping Giant to continue producing its six main brands including Mojo IPA and Buffalo Gold.

In a letter to customers and fans on Jan. 6, Boulder Beer majority owner Gina Day wrote that “some outside influences have recently transpired that have led us to make business decisions we feel are best for the company. 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. … After closing the manufacturing side of our business and then creating a relationship with Sleeping Giant, we feel it is now in our best interest to pursue this opportunity to sell the building. The 19,000-square-foot production facility has proven to be too large for our brewpub to operate within.”

All 30 remaining Boulder Beer employees were offered jobs at Concept Restaurants locations including Spruce Farm and Fish in the Hotel Boulderado. Concept Restaurants was founded by Day’s husband, Frank Day, who also founded the Rock Bottom and Old Chicago chains.

McFadden said the Boulder Beer taproom at Denver International Airport would remain open indefinitely, as long as its partnership with Sleeping Giant continues and through whatever happens with the Delaware North reconstruction project there.

“We have no long-term lease there,” she said, “but we’re planning to keep it open as long as the airport wants us there.”

“Moving forward, because of our new partnership with Sleeping Giant Brewing 

Company in Denver, you will still be able to find our beer on draft and in six-packs at your favorite liquor stores, groceries, bars and restaurants,” Gina Day wrote. “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. So although the Pub will be closing, the brands will live on.”

Her Jan. 6 letter closed with a tease:

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

© 2020 BizWest Media LLC

 

BOULDER — After 40 years in business, the hours are dwindling down to a precious few for Colorado’s first microbrewery.

Saturday is the last day of operation for Boulder Beer Co.’s taproom in east Boulder. No special activities are planned during regular business hours from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., said Tess McFadden, Boulder Beer’s marketing manager; there’ll just be time to “celebrate life, tell stories and raise a last pint.

“We’re expecting it to be a crazy day,” she said. Since the announcement in early January that Boulder Beer would sell its building at 2880 Wilderness Place, just west of Foothills Parkway, “it’s been so busy — “wall to wall bodies every day.”

More than 400 microbreweries operate in Colorado today, but in 1979 Boulder Beer was the first — and one of only a few dozen nationwide. In recent years, those breweries have had to stay afloat amid a wave of market saturation and corporate upheavals including employee-owned New Belgium Brewing’s sale to an international conglomerate and Molson Coors closing its Denver office.

Boulder Beer rocked the local craft-brewing scene last fall when it announced it would downsize and end national distribution of its beers, and followed that by signing an agreement with Denver-based contract brewery Sleeping Giant to continue producing its six main brands including Mojo IPA and Buffalo Gold.

In a letter to customers and fans on Jan. 6, Boulder Beer majority owner Gina Day wrote that “some outside influences have recently transpired that have led us to make business decisions…