Only three months ago, Colorado craft beer fans were shocked by the announcement that Boulder Beer Co., the state’s oldest craft brewery (celebrating 40 years of beer), would be ceasing packaging and distribution of their brands to focus exclusively on the company’s original Boulder, Co taproom. It was yet another sign of how difficult and challenging it has become to work within the current craft beer climate, stuffed with more than 8,000 breweries nationally, when even a revered company like Boulder couldn’t make distribution make sense. In December, meanwhile, the company managed to strike a deal with Denver contract brewer Sleeping Giant, which would keep Boulder beer brands on the shelves, at least locally, which some looked at as Boulder Beer Co.’s salvation. Unfortunately, it seems that we spoke too soon.
Today, Boulder Beer Co. announced the equally shocking upcoming closure and sale of their original brewery/taproom location at 2880 Wilderness Place, Boulder, CO. It will mark the end of Boulder Beer Co. existing as an independent craft brewery, although a handful of the company’s brands such as the popular Shake Chocolate Porter will continue to be brewed and distributed via Sleeping Giant—it’s unclear how far that distribution will reach.
Still, this has to be viewed as the end of an era; the death knell of one of Colorado’s most important early craft breweries. Today, The Centennial State is among the best and most diverse in the country in terms of its brewery coverage, boasting meccas that include Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, but it will be sad not to see Boulder Beer Co. among them. So many of the brewmasters operating today’s hyped Colorado breweries surely cut their teeth on bottles of Planet Porter or Buffalo Gold.
Boulder Beer Co. was majority owned by Gina Day, wife of Boulder area restaurateur Frank Day, who founded the influential Rock Bottom national brewpub chain. Gina Day, meanwhile, put out the following statement on Boulder Beer Co.’s closure. We wish her (and all the Boulder Beer Co. employees) the best in their future endeavors.
A Letter to Boulder Beer Company Customers and Friends
Dear Boulder Beer Patrons,
As you all know, things have been changing here at Boulder Beer, and we now have a new development we would like to share. 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. Our last day of operation will be Saturday, January 18th, after which we will close for business.
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. 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. 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.
Our valued Boulder Beer staff will all have access to job opportunities with our sister company Concept Restaurants should they decide to join their team. Also, 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.
Thank you all for 40 amazing years of support and friendship. If you’re in the Boulder area, please come raise a pint with us on or before January 18th to toast the fun ride it’s been, and celebrate the many, many great memories that make up Boulder Beer.
Sincerely, Gina Day, Owner