Renegade Brewing sells its Publik House to focus on brewing more beer

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Just over a year ago Renegade Brewing opened Renegade Publik House, a restaurant and tap house in the underserved University of Denver neighborhood. Citing a need to re-focus on expanding beer production and making "more beers available to more people," owner and founder Brian O'Connell recently sold the Publik House, which will close on Tuesday, July 29, to make way for the new owners, who will continue bar and restaurant operations under a new name.

See also: Finkel & Garf Brewing now pouring in Gunbarrel

The new owners of the Publik space, Christopher Topham and Jason Ladd, may be changing the name to Asbury Provisions -- a nod to their Pennsylvania roots -- but haven't given up on the public. They've started an Indiegogo campaign. to raise funds for their new concept.

According to their Indiegogo page, the two see the DU location as "ripe with opportunity and begging for something different." Their plans still include beer, along with a menu that will be "small and consist of dishes that help elevate the drinking experience." The crowdfunding campaign indicates that money raised will be applied to new signage, new kitchen equipment and new interior decor; it also gives a target grand opening date of September 1.

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Renegade wants to focus more on brewing, canning and bottling beer.
Meanwhile, O'Connell and his crew at Renegade Brewing are expanding their three-year-old brewery into a new, 15,000 square-foot space just a few blocks south of the original brewery and tap room (which will remain open). According to O'Connell, the expansion will give them room for a new canning line, space for barrel aging and bottling, and additional brewing equipment to take their annual capacity from 2,000 barrels to 5,000, with the potential to put out as much as 20,000 barrels annually.

The expansion means Renegade will be able to offer four year-round canned beers plus four seasonals to a much larger area of Colorado, he continues. Once the new facility is on-line -- O'Connell is hoping for late October -- Renegade will be able to increase its presence in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins as well as expanding west into mountain towns and the Western Slope.

He says the barrel-aging program will also receive a boost, allowing them to bottle more favorites like barrel-aged Elevation Triple IPA and Hammer and Sickle Russian Imperial Stout, as well as "fun, crazy stuff" like small batches of strong beers aged in brandy or tequila barrels. They also plan to add a tap room in the new space, but right now just want to concentrate on getting the new equipment up and running.

"As much as I have loved starting the Publik House and seeing it grow into a new community of craft beer in the DU neighborhood, I knew this was an opportunity to focus more on what Renegade does best, brewing beer," says O'Connell.

In the meantime, the new owners have offered current Publik House employees the option of staying on, O'Connell notes.


Location Info

Renegade Publik House

2043 S. University Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Renegade Brewing

925 W. 9th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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11 comments
Hpuz
Hpuz

Sounds like a cop out. Loved the Publik House, but seemed to me that owners didn't have the dedication to make it a success. Unpredictable hours, little to no outreach to community, shame that they didn't try harder. And now the next owners want other people to fund them...welcome to the next short lived business in that space.

Paul Brown
Paul Brown

I have enjoyed dinner at the Publik House, but it's hard to be sad when I know this change means more focus of business acumen and capital at Renegade's primary brewing operation. I wish Christopher Topham and Jason Ladd great success as they reincarnate the public house.

avs1cup
avs1cup

"underserved DU neighborhood" - that's a funny one.

GregLJK
GregLJK

Bummer, as someone who works at DU - but I'll confess I've only been in a few times, and never after they went cash-only. I predicted when they opened that parking issues in that area would be a problem for them, as I imagine they will be for the new owners as well. And there just isn't that much DU foot traffic looking for that kind of an experience. I hope it works out.

asburyprovisions
asburyprovisions

@Hpuz If you loved the Publik House, we're hoping you'll give us a shot! We're 100% committed to working with the community to provide a new, better bar experience to the neighborhood. As owners/operators, we'll be there every single day and will be looking forward to feedback. No worries about funding. We are 100% funded - we're in the building right now, working hard to get the place in perfect order - our campaign was developed to give friends, family and former regulars who wanted to help a way to do so…and you can never have too much wiggle room when it comes to money and opening a new business! Hoping we'll see you in September. Cheers.

asburyprovisions
asburyprovisions

Many thanks for the kind wishes @Paul Brown. We hope you'll stop in when we open up in September! Looking forward to serving you a cold one.

milleralexjames
milleralexjames

@GregLJK I live close by and have never been in. I'm with you on the location - as a broke-ass college kid myself, there's no way I could have afforded "expensive" beers - PBR all day long. I guess it's up for debate how broke-ass DU kids are, but still.

Hpuz
Hpuz

@asburyprovisions @Hpuz Good deal.  Pardon my pessimism, as Renegade was a great addition to the neighborhood (SUCH good beer), and to see it go away within a year made me think that area is cursed for good businesses (although Crimson & Gold and the Pioneer appear to be doing OK).  Of course I will give you a shot--always up to support good independent businesses in my hood, so I'm looking forward to my first delicious beer there.

asburyprovisions
asburyprovisions

@milleralexjames @GregLJK We hope you'll stop in to Asbury Provisions when we open up in September. We're excited to offer a new experience to the DU neighborhood and @milleralexjames, don't worry, our variety will be vast - lots of options to choose from, including affordable beers. Broke college kids deserve an amazing bar experience too!

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