Two Colorado brewers announce plan for joint venture

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The parent companies of Breckenridge Brewery and Wynkoop Brewing Co. plan to form a joint venture to help both craft brewers grow, they announced Wednesday.

Wynkoop Holdings Inc. and Breckenridge Holding Co. said the 50-50 joint venture would give Wynkoop more brewing capacity while Breckenridge Brewery would gain restaurant expertise. No money would be exchanged.

Wynkoop is close to outgrowing its annual brewing capacity of 4,000 barrels at its downtown Denver facility, Wynkoop’s Marty Jones said.

The venture would give Wynkoop access to a brewery with potential annual capacity of 60,000 barrels without having to build a new facility on its own, CEO Lee Driscoll said.

“We’re kind of like the local band being asked to go out on tour with Big Head Todd and the Monsters,” Jones said, referring to the Colorado-based rock band.

Wynkoop employees would still make the company’s beer, even if it is in Breckenridge Brewery’s facilities, he said.

Wynkoop, which was founded by Denver mayor and Colorado Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper, has seven Colorado restaurants and brewpubs. Breckenridge Brewery has four Colorado food spots.

Each company would keep its own staff.

Breckenridge Holding President Ed Cerkovnik said the combination, first reported by The Denver Post, could add jobs. A Breckenridge Brewery ale house slated to open in Denver in March should create about 100 jobs, he told The Associated Press.

Breckenridge Brewery makes about 30,000 barrels of beer annually, and beer sales are up about 25 percent this year, Cerkovnik said. Sales could keep growing as it adds beer to Wynkoop’s restaurants.

“This is a marriage of opportunity and not necessity,” Cerkovnik said.

– Associated Press