Ask any Fort Collins resident what the typical “Fort Collins” summer afternoon entails, and you’ll likely get the same two answers: chance of a thunderstorm and lounging at a brewery. This year, however, has been a bit of an unusually tumultuous time for breweries in Fort Collins, as many long-time staples of the town are changing or disappearing altogether. While no brewery or enterprise lasts forever, the loss of these iconic Fort Collins taprooms and brewhouses surely mean that this coming summer will have a little less hoppy, shady, summertime goodness as summers past.
It all began in late December of 2016 with 1933 Brewing, a small but well-known brewery that had opened in 2014. The brewery announced it was closing and “rebranding”: new owners, complete staff layoffs, and shut doors for an indefinite amount of time. A final aftershock followed when it was announced that the longtime Brewmaster for New Belgium, Peter Bouckaert, would be leaving the iconic brewery after 21 years to work on the new 1933 Brewing project.
In March, Pateros Creek Brewing suddenly announced that, due to construction taking place in the area and unspecified “internal changes”, the 2010 brewery would be without a location and would be closing down until further notice. According to a Facebook post made by the owners, they sold off the majority of their equipment, held a blowout party to drink the last of their stock, and are in negotiations to continue brewing as a contractor.
Early in 2017, after 42 years of being a short jaunt west of the Colorado State University Campus, C.B and Potts announced that it was shutting its doors and moving to a newer location in the recently developed Foothills Mall. While brewing operations and the taproom were originally planned to continue at the original location, the brewpub turned statewide chain later announced that they were ceasing all brewing in Fort Collins, citing issues finding a suitable and affordable space. Brewing for the company has moved to Englewood — in the Denver Metro Area — and will remain there for the time being. The three C.B. and Potts restaurants in Fort Collins, fortunately, will remain unaffected and will continue running as normal.
The largest blow to the Fort Collins craft brew scene, however, came with the sale of Fort Collins Brewery to Canadian brewer Red Truck Beer Co. Fort Collins Brewery had been a part of the Fort Collins scene, in various different forms, since 1992. The brewery’s well-known space in Northeast Fort Collins will halt operations entirely as Red Truck Beer Co plans to have a new brewpub up and running in its place by Spring of 2018.
It’s not all gloom and doom, though. Work has begun on CSU’s own Brewery to accompany its new Fermentation Science Degree program. The brewery will be located in the Lory Student Center and is expected to open in time for the fall semester. And fear not, the 28th annual Colorado Brewers Festival will be donning Fort Collins’ Civic Center Park June 24th and 25th.