New breweries have been opening at a furious pace in Colorado over the last several months — with more than a dozen more on pace to pour their first beers by the end of 2023.
But when the glass is half full, it also means it’s half empty. In the past few weeks, four Front Range breweries or brewery-owned taprooms have closed or announced imminent closures.
Smiling Toad Brewery, Colorado Springs
Smiling Toad Brewing, which was founded in 2013 before closing temporarily in 2020 and reopening a year later in a new location, has announced the end of the road.
“We have news to share. After 10 fantastic years of brewing up a storm, Smiling Toad Brewery is calling it a decade,” owners Bill and Patti Biff wrote on Facebook on April 3. But the brewery plans to keep the taps open into May (or until the beer runs dry).
Front Range Brewing, Lafayette
The Hoglund and Nichols families, owners of Front Range Brewing, made the “extremely challenging decision” to throw in the towel on March 24 after 10 years. They cited the pandemic and its effects in a note they wrote to customers on Facebook last month.
“This decision has not been easy to come to terms with. As this business has given us all an immense amount of joy and purpose. We love this community and are honored to have been a part of it in such a special way. FRBC was truly a living dream for us, but it’s our time to step away,” the message read. “It has been challenging for small businesses post-pandemic as most of you can see. … Despite relentless efforts to overcome the hurdles we have faced, it has come down to the last line that our family simply can’t negate.”
Crow Hop Brewing, Loveland
After a decade in Loveland, Crow Hop Brewing announced that will close its taproom sometime in late July, although it plans to continue to make and sell beer in stores.
The brewery said the effects of the pandemic were simply too much to overcome and that the SBA “continually rejected our efforts to obtain an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.”
“We do not make this decision lightly, but it has become clear that the taproom’s sales just can’t sustain its operations, and we’ve run out of reasonable options to continue to support it,” the owners wrote on the brewery’s website. “Perhaps we would have been able to stay open and recover if the SBA had processed our application, perhaps not, but regardless, we no longer have the resources to keep the taproom going on our own.
“We will continue to operate production and distribution to area accounts, as well as participate in festivals and other events while we refocus our efforts on growing our brewery in new and exciting directions,” the message continued. “In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you all around town and continuing to support our fellow brewers and local businesses with a pint or two.”
Welcome Home Brewery, Parker
Parker’s Welcome Home Brewery, which was founded in 2018, closed on Feb. 26 after owners Sharon and Aaron Murphy announced on social media that they had sold the business.
“First and foremost, we want to thank each and every one of you for your support during these past 4.5 years,” the wrote on social media. “You have been with us through blondes and reds, stouts and porters, ales and lagers, pale ales and saisons, seltzers and IPAs. You have laughed and cried with us. You helped us support dog rescues, law enforcement officers, and children with cancer. You have chosen our little brewery as a place to celebrate engagements, host weddings and rehearsal dinners, announce pregnancies and reveal genders. …
“You supported us when the government tried to shut us down for good, and helped us keep the lights on. The memories we’ve made, all of us, together, we will hold dear to our hearts for years and decades to come,” the message continued. “Don’t cry for us … We didn’t come to this decision lightly, but it is the right decision. Our lease was up in May, and our little brewery wasn’t going to keep up with the growing pace of South Parker. … We are ready to leave the mental, emotional, and physical tolls of running a business and working full time behind us.”
Welcome Home will be replaced by a possible new brewery called Beer Bodega.