Brewing, Cideries & Spirits  November 8, 2022

Salt Road Brewing coming to Old Town FoCo

FORT COLLINS – House-brewed beers infused with a touch of sea salt will be the drawing card when Scott Ficarra and his wife open Salt Road Brewing in Old Town Fort Collins.

Ficarra told BizWest on Tuesday that he is hoping to open the brewery and tap room by March in the 3,700-square-foot leased space at 321 Firehouse Alley that had been home to Prost Brewing. “It just depends on how quick we can get our licenses in place,” he said.

The Ficarras had been looking for just the right space for “quite some time” in Fort Collins, Greeley and Windsor, Ficarra said. They signed the Old Town lease last week and are working to get the space ready, planning a taproom in front and a brewery in the rear.

“A lot of the infrastructure I can use,” Ficarra said, referring to what had been left by the Prost brewers, “but I’m bringing most of my own equipment in.”

Ficarra scoffed at the idea that he was entering into a city already foaming over with breweries.

“I always find it funny to hear people say that Fort Collins is saturated, the Napa Valley of beer,” he said, “but nobody complains about how many wineries there are in the Napa Valley, or that there’s 50 Starbucks in Fort Collins.” Brewers, he said, “all pretty much have the attitude that  more of us are better as a whole.”

Besides, he said, “Old Town is a good fit because most of the breweries are in the ‘Fermentation District’ north of Mulberry”, the current location of the Odell and New Belgium breweries.

Ficarra said one of the benefits of Northern Colorado – and Colorado in general – is that “there’s a lot of world-class, quality ingredients in the state. For instance, some of the 21 brews listed on the Salt Road website rely on grains from Root Shoot Malting in Loveland or Troubadour Malting in Fort Collins, yeast from one of two labs in Denver, and hops from Colorado Hop Co., which receives its grains from farmers all over the state.

He also noted the benefits of having Colorado State University in Fort Collins and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley close by.

“We’ll rely on their fermentation programs, as well as their student bodies as a whole to help us fill our beertender roles.”

He said he was hoping to have four full-time employees including himself and his wife, as well as creating eight to 12 part-time positions.

Scott Ficarra is a Michigan native who worked in the steel industry for more than 25 years – but, he added, “a homebrewer for just as long. Homebrewing became my passion.”

The couple moved to Colorado 11 years ago, he said, and “five years ago, my wife and I decided that if we were going to open a brewery, I should enter some competitions and see how good my beers were. After I won a lot of awards, we decided to move forward to where we are today. It’s been a long process.”

The name “Salt Road” came as Ficarra researched different types of beer styles and discovered that adding a bit of sea salt in the brewing process is “nothing you can really taste, but it’s good for the health of the yeast. It’s sodium and mineral content that yeasts love.”

The original Salt Road, he said, was a Middle Ages trade route from the Baltic Sea to Bavaria. Once methods to produce salt from seawater and use it as a food preservative were discovered, the Salt Road served monasteries and farmhouse breweries along the way that depended on local ingredients to make their beers.

“Farm brewers along the Salt Road and throughout the world made beer with ingredients that they and their neighbors had nearby,” Ficarra wrote on his website. “This behavior was born out of necessity. At Salt Road Brewing, it’s our philosophy.

“Even our water is the perfect blank canvas to create any beer style,” he wrote. “We still, however, recognize extraordinary ingredients available outside of our great state. And, if we felt we could not make great beer from local ingredients, we wouldn’t do it. Supporting local stretches far beyond social and economic responsibility and, when it comes to beer, local tastes better.”

FORT COLLINS – House-brewed beers infused with a touch of sea salt will be the drawing card when Scott Ficarra and his wife open Salt Road Brewing in Old Town Fort Collins.

Ficarra told BizWest on Tuesday that he is hoping to open the brewery and tap room by March in the 3,700-square-foot leased space at 321 Firehouse Alley that had been home to Prost Brewing. “It just depends on how quick we can get our licenses in place,” he said.

The Ficarras had been looking for just the right space for “quite some time” in Fort Collins, Greeley and Windsor, Ficarra…