After declining sales, Arvada Beer Company reinvents its beer recipes and itself

Categories: Beer Man

ArvadaBeerLineup.jpg
Arvada Beer Company Facebook page
"Every brewery gets negative feedback, so I don't worry about it too much, but I think we drifted off into middle-of-the-road beers," says Cary Floyd, who opened Arvada Beer Company in October 2011 with his wife, Kelly. "We were tending more toward the masses rather than toward the craft beer that Kelly and I really got into this for."

That's what the couple realized late last summer after business at their spot in Olde Town declined by about 30 percent over a three-month period -- and what formed the basis for their decision to reinvent their beers and their brewing technique since then.

See also: Arvada Beer Company expands

ArvadaCaryFloyd.jpg
Arvada Beer Company Facebook page
Cary Floyd
"We have changed every single recipe that we make and doing some new things that we've never done before," Floyd says. "A lot of the things are small, like mashing in at a different temperature to get a richer beer." And some are bigger, like changing the hops profile and boosting the alcohol content for their best-seller, Goldline IPA.

"Changing your best-selling beer is a big risk," Floyd notes. "But everyone is loving it. So we are going to keep doing things differently."

Arvada Beer's problems began around July when the Floyds decided that they -- and head brewer Dennis O'Harrow -- were making too many low-alcohol "session beers" that came in between 4 and 5 percent alcohol by volume, or ABV.

"People were getting bored with them," Floyd says. "They didn't stand out, and in Colorado, you have to stand out.... People told me they had stopped coming in because they said there were better beers around. Ours weren't bad, just not as good."

In the end, the Floyds -- award-winning homebrewers in their own right -- parted ways with O'Harrow over creative differences and took over the brewing themselves. "Before we opened, the original plan was that Kelly and I were going to do all the brewing ourselves, but we were overwhelmed by the enormity of the project, and I think we were a little bit afraid. That's why we got someone professional to brew the beers," he explains. "Thinking back, I'm glad we did. But it's nice having the control back."

In addition to the IPA, Arvada Beer has changed the recipes for its popular Irish Red, its holiday ale (now at 9 percent ABV) and some of its wheat beers, and added a variety of new styles to the mix, including a black wheat beer that weighs in at 8.5 percent ABV and a Vanilla Porter that has become the brewery's second-best seller.

Business is up 20 percent in the past two months over the same two months in 2012. "I used to be in the corporate world and one of the things I learned was that you have to keep reinventing yourself," Floyd says.

Although Arvada Beer had planned to begin canning some of its beers in 2013, Floyd says that plan is on hold until he figures out which of the reinvigorated beers will work in a package. "But I am more worried about the tasting room," he adds. "I need to keep people coming back and to keep growing. I am never going to sit on my laurels."


Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan


Location Info

Map

Arvada Beer Company

5600 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, CO

Category: General


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
14 comments
mpcsmommy
mpcsmommy

I agree that the main problem is the ambience.  I'd really like to help them succeed, but hanging out there is just depressing.  Like hanging out in a gym.  I hope they take these suggestions and continue to improve.

Laura Cook Newman
Laura Cook Newman

The problem isn't entirely the beer. It's the lack of food and ambiance. They have a stellar location but aren't leveraging it fully. If they need restaurant marketing advice, I'm happy to help.

Dale Sawin
Dale Sawin

live right by them....been once....the beer is okay...but the place is drab as dental office and have to order food from next door........(manniken frites.....whos counter people are ALWAYS grumpy....act like they are doing you a favor taking your order.) Between the two of them I always move on to The Arvada Tavern....who always has; ... good food, drinks, good atmosphere and friendly service.....its a simple recipe to keep business...

Steven Knaus
Steven Knaus

Damn! Never been there, but that would suck.

Julie Barrickman
Julie Barrickman

I've had some good beers there. Pool Hall Porter and the coffee porter have been my favs. It's walking or stub log distance to my house and thats great. I like the place but it is lacking vibe.

Laura Omdahl
Laura Omdahl

I've been there and the beer was ok, not stellar, and there was no food, so I'm not tempted to linger. Colorado + opened this summer closer to me in Wheat Ridge, and they've got lots of stuff plus tasty eats, so I definitely prefer that for my local brews.

Hayley Griffen
Hayley Griffen

Ouch. I didn't even know they existed... good luck to them!

Franz Christopher
Franz Christopher

Yeah I will never go back there. Odyssey beer works in Arvada has some really tasty beer. Try the ghost Drifter

Marcus Tompkins
Marcus Tompkins

Lost thirty percent? What was the catalyst to prompt this change..... That's crazy.

Aaron Betcher
Aaron Betcher

i went there once and it wasn't that impressive, this is a town with some serious beer competition. i hope they put some tasty shit up to drink.

kvillegas
kvillegas

Been a few times in the last couple months after vowing to never go back about a year ago. The change in brewing staff changed my mind and their beer is improving. I'm interested to see where it is in six months. Keep it up, guys.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...