Factotum Brewhouse won't open in Sunnyside after all; searching for a new spot

Factotum_coozie.jpg
Factotum Brewhouse Facebook page
With nearly twenty breweries currently in the planning stages in Denver, it's no surprise that some of them are going to experience bumps and bruises on the way toward opening.

Factotum Brewhouse is the latest to suffer a setback. The sister-and-brother team of Laura and Chris Bruns had planned to open Factotum this year at 4735 Lipan Street, but they'll have to find a new location after a problem with the city's fire code made their design untenable.

See also: Factotum Brewhouse will rely on homebrewers when it opens in Sunnyside

"The city insisted that we add an additional door to the front of the building," says Chris via email. "We were willing and able to make those changes but the landlord would not allow us to make the necessary changes as it would alter the facade of the building."

"Without this front door, the tap room would only be able to have a capacity of ten people...for a 3,000-square-foot space," adds Laura.

As a result, the Brunses, who are now storing their equipment at Grandma's House, another local brewery-in-planning, will have to start their search for a spot again.

"We feel that Sunnyside welcomed us with open arms and we'd love to find another place in the neighborhood," Chris says. "That said, we have to find a location that will work for us, that will work for a brewery. We may well still end up in Sunnyside, but we might not. We're looking anywhere that makes sense for our business."

Factotum ran a successful Kickstarter campaign back in June, with the stated goal of beautifying the taproom with a glass garage door.

They brother-sister team will still try to do that at a new location, but if it doesn't work, they'll use the money for something else that "the customer can directly benefit from," Laura says. "We will be letting our pledgers know exactly where their money went, as soon as we know."

When they do open their place, Factotum will stick with its stated goal of being dedicated to homebrewers, using their recipes and giving them the chance to brew it themselves. The brewery will have a seven-barrel system where homebrewers of all skill levels can brew a beer with help from Chris and then have it served on tap and get customer feedback.


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13 comments
Co_hokie
Co_hokie

Oh no that's sad news for me, I'm about 5 blocks away from where they were going to go, and I was looking forward to it.  There are plenty of shuttered bars/restaurants in the area - Ciento Lindo on 44th & Tejon has been empty for years and now that Common Grounds is just down the block, I hope a brewery or restaurant will take it. 

Or that ultra sketchy, closed nightclub on Lipan & 47th - was someone murdered there? - should have cheap rent.  And they'd only have to move their stuff a block. 

aphexcoil
aphexcoil

I'm friends with Laura and know her brother Chris.  They're great people and their bar will eventually be a huge success.  It's really disheartening that the landlord couldn't work with them over a front-door.  If this is commercially zoned, the landlord should realize that this will need to happen at some point if they want to entertain the prospect of renting the space to an establishment that will hold many people.  


I'd also like to know why the city of Denver told them after renovations were made that the zoning laws would be incongruent with their plans to open a drinking establishment.  Confirming the local zoning  and regulatory codes are generally extremely important before proceeding with investing in renovations before opening a new establishment.

That said, I'm curious what the landlord's motivations were to allow renovations on his property and then turn around and not allow a front door.  

Karen Hemmerle
Karen Hemmerle

They should come to the West Colfax neighborhood. Lots of newly vacant buildings on Colfax, and we're a growth neighborhood.

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

This is nothing personal against Factotum at all - they sound like they've got a great plan and I wish them the best of luck.

My comment is more general. We have had, if I may use the technical term, a shit-ton of breweries open locally in the past 18 months. If this pace keeps up, I wonder if we will fairly soon approach saturation point (much as we have done with, say, pizza places, or burger joints) causing folks to lose interest.

steppesmusic
steppesmusic

@Karen Hemmerle Completely agree this should exist elsewhere.  There are giant holes in Denver for these types of businesses to settle; and still, they are only popping up in just a few select neighborhoods.  I'd like to see someone do something further East on Colfax as well.  17th Ave is certainly not saturated either, with only Sun Mountain/Vine Street.

And the fact that nothing has been done in Wash Park is just mind-blowing. 

WillieStortz
WillieStortz

@TheFabulousMarkT You can't talk logic when people are caught up in hysteria. 


Every home brewer in Colorado is ready to blow their life's savings and inheritance on a brewery, even though they have no restaurant experience. Those few that survive will realize how low the margins are in the restaurant industry and will be stuck working 70 hour weeks for near minimum wage.



aphexcoil
aphexcoil

@TheFabulousMarkT 

Do you mean bars or breweries?  They are two separate things.  When I was in Denver last, the saturation point was already pretty much there for bars (less so for Breweries -- but places like Rock Bottom aren't the kind of neighborhood breweries that make Denver "Denver").  

It's also a business model.  The best succeed and the others fail.  Laura and Chris have a great plan and they will succeed.  If it meant a place like Rock Bottom going out of business, I'd be all for it.  Keep Denver's money in Denver.

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@WillieStortz @TheFabulousMarkT Dear Rick... um, I mean Brent... er, Willie :D

I can't say I disagree with you this time :)

Your friend,

TFMT

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@aphexcoil @TheFabulousMarkT Let me put it this way - I would much rather us have local businesses than corporate chains, and I do agree about survival-of-the-fittest.

My "saturation-point" comment was directed towards both bars (actually the ship sailed long ago on that one) and breweries. IMO if we get too many more of either I think people are just going to stop caring.

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@Bagwhan @TheFabulousMarkT No, that's not what I meant :) Of course people will still go, and still enjoy them - it's just that I think it's easy to get overwhelmed sometimes when there's this much choice.

Bagwhan
Bagwhan

@TheFabulousMarkT Breweries are going to become so popular that nobody goes to them anymore?  ;-)


Yes, of course we'll reach a saturation point, but why does that matter?  If we have less of them, people will "care" more?  What does that mean?

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