Edwards brewery now one of Colorado’s largest
The Vail Daily
By the numbers
15,000: Barrels per year capacity of Crazy Mountain Brewing Company’s Edwards facility.
65,000: Barrels per year capacity of the company’s new facility in Denver.
20: States where Crazy Mountain beer is sold.
18.2 million: Coors Light sales, in barrels, in 2011.
EDWARDS — There aren’t many true overnight success stories in the world. Crazy Mountain Brewing Co. comes close.
The company introduced itself to the Vail Valley at the 2010 Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival. That was in January. By the end of the year, the company was in full production. Not long after that, the company opened a tasting room in Edwards. It expanded production again in 2012.
After what seemed like several big steps, the company this year took a giant leap — an expansion into Denver into the former Breckenridge Brewery facility on Kalamath Street.
Crazy Mountain co-founder Kevin Selvy said the Denver location is huge — it’s the sixth largest brewing facility in Colorado and the 39th largest beer-making site in the U.S. The move will immediately result in a massive increase in production capacity — from 15,000 to 80,000 barrels per year.
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That’s the kind of leap that could raise questions about the company’s future in the Vail Valley. Selvy said he, his wife and business partner, Marisa, and the couple’s newborn daughter have no plans to move to the big city.
The Selvys moved to the valley from San Francisco, and mountain living seems to suit them.
“We’ll still have our headquarters here,” Selvy said. “We have plans to come back up (to the valley) and build an even larger facility than the one in Denver here in Eagle County.”
Building that facility could happen in the next five to 10 years, Selvy said. The original timeline for the company’s growth to that size was 30 years.
Moving into the Breckenridge Brewery facility was no accident and took a lot of time.
According to information provided by Crazy Mountain, Selvy and Todd Usry, Breckenridge director of brewing, met in 2011. By the next year, the two companies had a handshake deal for Crazy Mountain to move into the Kalamath Street brewery if the Selvys could find financing.
A couple of years and countless meetings, emails and phone calls later, the deal was done.
As Breckenridge opens its new facility on a 12-acre site in Littleton, Crazy Mountain walked into a plant ready to work on just about the first day.
Besides brewing a lot of beer, Selvy said ideas for the Kalamath Street facility include a tasting room, and, perhaps in the spring of 2016, a beer garden that could seat as many as 2,000 people.
It’s likely that part of the plans for the Kalamath site include Group 970 restaurants, the company that used to own the Vail and Beaver Creek Chophouse restaurants and still runs the Blue Moose Pizza locations in the resorts. While the contracts haven’t been signed yet, both companies are optimistic about having a joint presence in Denver.
“We’ve spent a lot of time working together (in the valley),” Group 970 representative Sarah Franke said. “It’s a fun opportunity for us to (work) with another great Vail Valley company in Denver.”
Again, the deals aren’t yet complete, but Franke said Group 970 could have a restaurant operating at Kalamath Street by some time in November.
Selvy said the idea behind the Denver location is to bring some of the vibe of the original location to Denver. In fact, people who show an Eagle County address on their ID can get a free beer at the Denver location.
While Crazy Mountain is adapting to its new, vastly larger market presence, Selvy said the Edwards facility still has important work to do.
All the Crazy Mountain beer sold in Eagle County will be brewed and canned here. Beyond that, the Edwards location will serve as something of a laboratory, the reason Selvy started brewing in the first place.
The idea is to create specialty beers in Edwards, released in wine bottle-sized bottles, in limited runs of perhaps 200 cases at a time. The first of those higher-end beers could be available by the end of this year.
Selvy called the idea of creating a kind of skunkworks for specialty brews the “cherry on top” of the deal with Breckenridge. “I got into the industry to experiment with different (beer) styles,” Selvy said. “We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at (970) 748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org and @scottnmiller.
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