Brewery moves to Centennial; plans canning operation

The brewery is moving to a 5,600-square-foot space at 12741 E. Caley Ave. in Centennial. (Burl Rolett)

The brewery is moving to a 5,600-square-foot space at 12741 E. Caley Ave. in Centennial. (Burl Rolett)

Lost Highway has found itself a new home.

Tina and James Pachorek are moving Lost Highway Brewing Co. from Colfax Avenue to a 5,600-square-foot space at 12741 E. Caley Ave. in Centennial. They want to boost production by 2,000 barrels this year and plan to sell Lost Highway six packs in stores.

“We knew we wanted to expand and get into canning,” Tina said. “But we will have to add more equipment, and the place we were would have needed a lot of structural work.”

The new brewery will also mean a new business model at Lost Highway.

Instead of selling beer from the taproom and 50 restaurants in town, Tina said, the business wants to shift to selling 60 percent of the product in retail stores, splitting the rest between the Lost Highway taproom and other bars.

Tina and James Pachorek launched Lost Highway in 2014. (Burl Rolett)

Tina and James Pachorek launched Lost Highway in 2014. (Burl Rolett)

To help distribute beers to the new accounts, the Pachoreks have signed on with new distribution company, Colorado Craft Distributors.

“The distributor will make our lives a lot easier,” Pachorek said. “That way we can focus on building our brand and making great beer instead of making deliveries.”

The Pachoreks got the keys to their new location this week. They plan to start construction on the taproom while Lost Highway keeps making and selling beer at its Colfax location.

Once the Centennial taproom opens around March, Tina said, the firm will start closing down the Colfax space and moving equipment to the new brewery.

The Pachoreks estimate both taprooms will run simultaneously for a month. They hope to stop brewing for only a couple weeks while they set up in Centennial.

Lost Highway launched on Colfax in 2014, next to the Pachoreks’ former Cheeky Monk restaurant. The husband-and-wife team owned the building, restaurant and brewery, so they figured they could expand into the Cheeky Monk space if Lost Highway needed more room.

But the Pachoreks found out they wouldn’t be able to knock down the brick wall between the two storefronts.

They also ran out of space for a canning line at Lost Highway, so the duo starting looking for a new spot. Last year, they shuttered the Cheeky Monk and sold the Colfax Avenue building for $3.7 million.

Once it became apparent they would need to leave Colfax, Tina said, Lost Highway chose Centennial because it’s closer to home and most of its employees. She liked the Caley Avenue spot’s location in a growing residential area and an established business park.

She said it won’t take much work to turn the office building into a brewery. The electrical, plumbing and other expensive pieces are in place. And it’s no sweat to knock out a few walls.

“This spot was the right size, but more than anything, it was a corner spot with potentially a great view looking out to the Cherry Creek reservoir,” she said.

The company wants to boost production by 2,000 barrels and install a canning line in its new space. (Burl Rolett)

The company wants to boost production by 2,000 barrels and install a canning line in its new space. (Burl Rolett)

Tina said Lost Highway signed a five-year lease on the space. Once built out, Lost Highway also will have its own offices, which she said would be better suited for running the business than the current barroom.

Phil Kabut of Berkshire Hathaway helped Lost Highway in its site search. Aaroh Construction Inc. is the general contractor on the build.

A new canning line will be the brewery’s only major equipment purchase, Tina said. Everything else will come over from Colfax.

Lost Highway wants sell canned beer in six packs of its five flagship brews. The lineup includes a pilsner, wit, IPA, blonde ale and hoppy lager. The brewery also seeks to add a brewer’s assistant and sales person to its staff of 10.

After running restaurants for 15 years before closing the Cheeky Monk, Tina said the Pachoreks aren’t planning a return to the restaurant business.

“In 2002, if opening a brewery seemed possible we would have done that instead of opening restaurants,” she said. “We spent 15 years promoting and pushing other beer brands, now we really want to focus on our own.”

The brand will take its Colfax Avenue roots over to Centennial. At least three of the brewery’s flagship beers are named after the Cap Hill area Lost Highway is leaving.

The Lost Highway name is a nod to the long Denver thoroughfare lost to travelers passing through the city when I-70 opened. None of those names will change, Tina said.

Plus, Arapahoe Road was once a highway.

POSTED IN Brews and Booze, News, Top News

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