UPDATE June 29 at 9 p.m.: Due to a reporting error, this story previously stated Prost Brewing Co. would be receiving $7 million in funding. The correct amount is roughly $6 million.
Denver’s Prost Brewing Co. is preparing to tap into a new Colorado market where it will not only create its fourth destination biergarten, but also build a brewhouse intended to double production capacity and pave the way for ambitious expansion.
According to announcements Tuesday, the brewery, which specializes in German-style beers, will move its headquarters to the Northglenn Marketplace off Interstate 25 and renovate multiple areas of the shopping center to accommodate a new brewery and distribution hub, plus a massive onsite taproom and restaurant serving German eats and drinks.
In all, the project will reimagine more than 72,000 square feet of former retail space, said Debbie Tuttle, Northglenn’s economic development manager and executive director of the Northglenn Urban Renewal Authority. Construction will begin soon in hopes that Prost can open to the public in July 2023, she said.
The news comes after Prost considered relocating to San Antonio, Texas. Instead, it will remain in its home state, where it has been based since opening in 2012, and receive roughly $6 million in funding and incentives to do so.
That includes $1.2 million in performance-based job growth incentive tax credits over an eight year period from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Executive, $1.6 million in allowances from the shopping center’s owner Hutensky Capital Partners, two grants totaling $25,000 from the Northglenn Urban Renewal Authority, nearly $1.7 million in incentives from the City of Northglenn and $706,634 from Adams County.
In return, Prost plans to invest $25 million into its new facility over the next 10 years and bring 200 new jobs to the area, according to press statements. The brewery currently employs 100 people.
No one from Prost returned a request for comment, but president David Deline said in a prepared statement he was excited to be able to remain in the Centennial State.
“We are a family-owned business and sixth-generation Coloradans,” said Deline. “Northglenn was clearly the best choice for Prost Brewing, and we’re excited to be able to make this important move for the future of our business while staying in Colorado.”
Provided by Northglenn Marketplace
Provided by Northglenn Marketplace
Prost’s expansion is nothing short of aggressive and comes after a tumultuous several years for the beer industry. Even before the pandemic, beer was losing market share to other alcohol segments, such as seltzer and ready-to-drink beverages. While the Brewers Association reports craft beer has regained ground, it’s still growing slowly. In 2021, craft beer sales represented 13.1% of total beer sales by volume in the U.S., up marginally from 12.2% in 2015, a banner year for craft beer, the trade group reported.
Not to mention that the India pale ale remains king when it comes to sales. Prost makes an India pale lager, but its bread and butter is brewing German styles according to Bavaria’s old Reinheitsgebot rules, albeit well. The Prost Pils won a silver medal at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival, and its weissbier and keller pils medaled in years prior.
Still, Prost touted “robust growth… caused the company to outgrow its current headquarters and production facilities,” in a statement. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the brewery is poised to substantially ramp up production at its new spot in Northglenn.
From 2012 to 2021, Prost’s production increased from 200 barrels to 10,000 barrels, according to estimates from the trade group Brewers Association. Tuesday’s announcement said the brewery plans to up that to 20,000 barrels at the new facility initially before growing to 40,000 or 50,000 barrels. How?
Prost plans to build a 50-barrel “showpiece production brewery,” according to a presentation recently submitted to the Northglenn City Council. Tuttle said 53,000 square feet of a former Bed, Bath & Beyond will be transformed into the new brewery, which will also feature sustainable production practices such as 100% carbon dioxide capture and reuse, and an energy efficient vacuum boiling system, among other features. The new taproom and biergarten will takeover a former Atlanta Bread eatery and then some, she added.
Prost plans to move its copper-plated Kaspar Shulz brew house to the Northglenn facility, too. Last November, the company removed it from the taproom in LoHi and has since been contract brewing.
If it is able to use all of its production capacity at some point, Prost would become one of the largest beer makers in Colorado. By comparison, Durango’s Ska Brewing Co. and Denver’s Great Divide Brewing Co. each produced about 25,000 barrels in 2021, the Brewers Association reported. Nationally, it would rank among the size of California’s Belching Beaver Brewery, which produced about 43,000 barrels last year.
And more beer means more places to buy it. Prost currently distributes beer in Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri, and plans to expand to Arizona, Texas, Idaho and the Midwest. It also currently operates three taprooms in Denver, Fort Collins and Highlands Ranch, two of which recently added kitchens onsite.
Prost expects 300,000 people will visit the new brewery annually for its proposed 9,000-square-foot taproom and 10,000-square-foot biergarten with a stage for live music, fire pits, lawn game and gardens. The company is also planning to open a satellite location in Colorado Springs by 2024 and expand to additional locations by 2027.
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