Three months after announcing plans to pivot to a brewpub business model, Boulder Beer Co today announced plans to sell its brewpub building and pivot once more to a contract brewing model.
In an email Monday to Boulder Beer Co consumers, owner Gina Day announced that the brewpub will close on January 18th.
In recent months, Boulder has announced several changes to its business model, citing increased competition within the craft brewing industry.
In October, the company announced it would cease distribution to its 27-state footprint and retrench to a brewpub-only model.
However, by December, Boulder Beer’s model changed once more, as the company announced a partnership with Denver-based contract brewery Sleeping Giant to brew, sell and distribute six Boulder offerings.
With the contract brewing arrangement in place, keeping the brewpub appeared untenable.
Production at Boulder Beer, which was founded in 1979 by David Hummer and Randolph “Stick” Ware, a pair of University of Colorado-Boulder astrophysics professors and homebrewers, has declined steadily in recent years. In 2018, the company produced 16,305 barrels of beer, down from its most recent peak of 29,333 barrels in 2014, according to data from the Brewers Association.
About 20 of Boulder Beer’s 50 employees were laid off when the company ceased brewing beer for distribution. Remaining employees will be able to apply for jobs at Boulder Beer’s sister company, Concept Restaurants, Day wrote.
“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,” she wrote.
Below is the letter that Day penned:
January 6th, 2020
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.
Gina Day, Owner