Breckenridge Brewery will build a twelve-acre, $20 million beer farm in Littleton

Breckenridge is buying the land, currently home to the Silver Sage tree and shrub nursery, from Michael Hommel, who owns Designs by Sundown, a 28-year-old landscape design firm located on seven acres next to the future brewery site - and, coincidentally, Usry's first employer when he moved to Denver in the early 1990s.

"The acquisition was very serendipitous," Usry says. "I can't believe I'm buying land from the first guy I worked for...schlepping rock and driving a tractor."

Breckenridge will close on the land in May, but since Silver Sage's lease doesn't expire until the end of 2013, construction probably won't begin until after that; the new brewery will employ sixty people to start with, and up to 75 down the road.

The brewery itself will be in the red and silver buildings at the bottom, while the restaurant and tasting room will be in the yellow, farm-like building at the top; the boiler room stage is pictured at the top right.
The two-year timeline means that Breckenridge, which has been growing at a rate of 20 to 30 percent a year, won't be able to grow much more for a while or increase its sales, however, Usry says. The brewery made 52,000 gallons of beer in 2012, but doesn't have much more room to grow at its Denver brewery, at 471 Kalamath Street.

"If we can hit 65,000 barrels out of this building, I will be happy," Usry says.

In order to make that much beer, however, Breckenridge will have to use a provision in the state's liquor code known as an "alternating proprietorship," which allows one brewery to loan or rent its equipment and its physical premises to another brewery.

In this case, Breckenridge-Wynkoop will create alternating proprietorships with some of all of its other four brewpubs (it already has an agreement with Wynkoop Brewing) so that together, they can brew more than 60,000-barrel limit.

The arrangement is extremely burdensome, however, since each brewpub has to file its own taxes and maintain its own supply and production chains.

As a result, Breckenridge-Wynkoop may return to the legislature in 2014 to try again to raise the cap on how much beer a brewpub can produce.

The new brewery will also feature:

-A small hops farm adjacent to Santa Fe Drive
-A 100-barrel Steineker brewhouse
-A Krones bottling line capable of spitting out 320 bottles per minute
-A Wild Goose Engineering (of Boulder) canning line
-A 2,000-square-foot barrel-aging cellar
-An outdoor stage at the base of an old boiler room building that used to supply power to greenhouses in the 1960s
-Various energy-efficient systems, including solar tubes and water recycling

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A beer farm is what I need!  So i can just pull bottles out of the ground and cans off the trees.

Seriously, though, it sounds terrific.

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