Richard Squire, founder of Breckenridge Brewery, dies at 78

The Breckenridge Brewery and Pub is staying in its original location on Main Street in Breckenridge through May 2021.
Liz Copan /

Editor’s note: The original version of this story stated that Richard Squire moved to Breckenridge in 1988 after a career in women’s high fashion in Dallas and sales in New York. He actually worked in fashion sales in both locations. The current story has been updated to reflect this.

BRECKENRIDGE — Longtime Breckenridge local Richard Squire died of lung cancer Nov. 17 at age 78. Richard moved to Breckenridge in 1988 after a career in women’s fashion sales in New York and Dallas.

Squire founded Breckenridge Brewery in 1990 and ran it for more than 25 years.
Suzie’s CBD Treats via Facebook

“He wrapped it all up and decided he wanted to ski and climb and do the things he wanted to do,” Richard’s son, Graham Squire, said about when his father made the decision to leave Texas and move to Alta, Utah. “… Then after Alta is kind of when we rolled into Breckenridge.”

Graham said his father became interested in the brewpub scene and enjoyed experimenting with brewing beer, which is how Breckenridge Brewery was born in 1990. Graham said Richard ran the brewery with innovative ideas for more than 25 years. 

“We were the first out with bomber bottles,” Graham said. “He just saw it further ahead than just a brewpub.”

Graham said his father was a mentor to many people personally and professionally throughout his life. 

“He was a true visionary. He had the big ideas,” Graham said. “He took a lot of people under his wing in the sense that he was a mentor to a lot of people in different ways. He kind of had a flock of folks around him because he was very charismatic; he had that kind of personality.”

One of Richard’s most recent mentees was Caleb Gilmore, who Richard partnered with for their business, Suzie’s Pet Treats, named after Richard’s dog, Suzie. Gilmore said he met Richard through his father, who met Richard at the Breckenridge Recreation Center playing pickleball.

“A couple years ago, he came to me with this idea to make CBD dog treats,” Gilmore said. “He said it could be a million-dollar business, and he would teach me everything about business.”

When Richard approached Gilmore with his idea, Gilmore was in his junior year of a degree in mechanical engineering at CU Denver. Gilmore finished the semester, dropped out of college and started the business with Richard in January 2017. The two started by working out of Richard’s home.

“I learned a lot about what it was like to take an idea and turn it into a reality,” Gilmore said. “It started off with just him and Suzie and I getting in his car, and we’d drive around the Denver metro area. We got a couple orders for like $60, and I thought, ‘I can’t believe they said yes!’”

Gilmore said that while Richard wanted the business to be successful, he didn’t care about the money; he simply wanted to see Gilmore succeed. 

“He was absolutely a mentor,” Gilmore said. “He didn’t care about money. He was old and rich already. What he wanted more than anything was to try and teach me the lessons he’d learned and help me reach a higher level of life. He always said his greatest gift was to pass on what he learned.”

Suzie, Richard’s dog that inspired the company, died in March. Gilmore recalled Richard saying that if it weren’t for the business, he would have gone with Suzie. 

“At the end of his life, he was happy,” Gilmore said. “He said he was ready to see Suzie again. I think over the last three years, I spent more time with Richard than anyone else in the world. The fact that he wanted to spend his last years on earth teaching me is very humbling.”

The Suzie’s Pet Treats team will continue to operate as Richard would have wanted, Gilmore said, and a great team of people will keep the business going. 

Richard sold Breckenridge Brewery to Anheuser-Busch in 2016 but remained the property owner under Breckenridge Brewery Real Estate. Over the past summer, there was a dispute between Richard and Anheuser-Bush after Richard tried to evict the new brewery owners. 

An agreement was reached in late August that Breckenridge Brewery would stay in its original location through May 2021 and then the lease would be terminated. Richard planned to open a new brewery in its place, but after his death, the future of the space is uncertain. 

“We’re still really in an exploratory mode at this point,” Graham said. “We’ll probably get through the holidays and see what we want to do. I know there were some pretty tenuous relations between my dad and Anheuser-Busch, but we’re hoping that’s water under the bridge at this point.”

As for the creation of a new brewery, Graham was hesitant to say whether his father’s company would still pursue that venture. 

“We would need to go to the partners and see what we would like to do moving forward,” Graham said. “Anheuser-Bush is there for another year and a half, so it gives us more time to think about things. Whatever happens at that point, it’s a viable location for a bunch of things.”

A spokeswoman for Breckenridge Brewery declined to comment.

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