Crazy Mountain Brewing in Denvers Cap Hill neighborhood

Crazy Mountain Brewing Co. is downsizing its square footage by 90 percent.

The Denver-based brewery last week moved out of its former 42,000-square-foot production facility and taproom at 471 Kalamath St. in Baker after it decided not to renew its short-term lease extension in April.

CEO Barry Watkins has signed a lease for Alpine Dog Brewery’s former 4,200-square-foot taproom at the corner of Colfax Avenue and Ogden Street.

“I think it was a very challenging expectation to think that in five years or less we were going to fill the capacity of that brewery,” Watkins said. “It’s a relief not to have to deal with the maintenance, upkeep and overall physical building anymore.”

He added, “The amount of money we had to spend to maintain that building prevented us from investing more money in the product. When you have a fixed cost structure like that it’s restricting our ability to grow.”

Westword first reported the lease. Alpine Dog has been operating at 1505 N. Ogden St. since 2014, and has recently been on a month-to-month lease. Owner Gardiner Hammond told BusinessDen the brewery will close sometime next month, but he plans to reopen at a new location.

Crazy Mountain is working on a deal to purchase Alpine Dog’s brewing equipment, since Crazy Mountain’s previous landlord owns the system in the Kalamath Street facility.

Watkins told BusinessDen in April that the brewery had hired Sleeping Giant, which Watkins described as “one of the best contract brewers in the country,” to brew its six core beers, including its IPA, pilsner and pale ale. It also plans to introduce a lager in the near future.

“Sleeping Giant will give us the opportunity to spend money on growth opportunities, like expanding into Arizona and Texas and hiring more people,” Watkins added. “Cutting out millions of dollars in overhead will give us the chance to grow quicker and in a more profitable manner.”

With its core production under control, Crazy Mountain will use half of its new smaller facility to brew artisanal batches, such as barley wine beer, and the other half will be used as a taproom.

“The Baker district was a mirage in the desert,” Watkins said. “We were always challenged getting foot traffic down there. But this space is all about location, location, location. I think we will be able to double our taproom business here.”

Crazy Mountain moved into the Baker facility, which has the capacity to produce 100,000 barrels annually, in 2015 after Breckenridge Brewery’s 20-year stint. For reference, the company brewed around 25,000 barrels in 2019.

Crazy Mountain has had a bumpy ride over the past few years. Its original founder and former CEO Kevin Selvy filed a lawsuit against the brewery in March, alleging that the company still owes him $21,112 in unpaid salary and other expenses — years after firing him.

In January 2018, Crazy Mountain was evicted from its facility in Edwards because of unpaid rent and had to battle with its landlord for access to the equipment inside. And later that year, it was also evicted from its taproom at the base of Winter Park Resort, as well as a Crazy Mountain-branded taproom in Glendale’s CitySet shopping center.

Crazy Mountain’s former brewery in Bakery is owned by 471 Kalamath LLC, which purchased it for $3.35 million in 2015, according to property records. It was quietly listed for $6 million in March.

On July 7, Vicki Byrne, a representative of 471 Kalamath LLC, applied to the city for a certificate of demolition eligibility for the structure, which makes it easy to demolish a structure within five years. The city issued the certificate last week.

Byrne declined to comment.

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