Sunnyside brewery set to close because of rent increase

Factotum Brewhouse owners announced Sunday that the business will shut down on Oct. 9 because the proposed rent to extend its lease at 3845 N. Lipan St. was too much. (Photos courtesy of Factotum Brewhouse)

It’s “last call” at Factotum Brewhouse in the Sunnyside neighborhood.

The owners, brother-and-sister team Christopher and Laura Bruns, said in an email Sunday night that the business at 3845 Lipan St. will close Oct. 9.

The Bruns said their lease is ending, and the increase in rent that their landlord wanted for an extension was just too much.

“The numbers that were presented to us, at the time, were akin to what breweries in RiNo were paying, which we rightfully felt was overpriced for the current Sunnyside market,” the Bruns wrote. “As a small business, we were still waiting for the full potential of the Sunnyside neighborhood to be realized.”

Factotum opened in 2015 at its current location. The brewhouse owners said it was supposed to be a neighborhood fixture and they never intended to get into distribution. Amid the pandemic, the siblings said they hired a marketing specialist and that helped sustain the business.

The Bruns said they were not concerned with winning awards or becoming Colorado’s next major brewery, and their original business model was to host “guest brewers” who would bring their idea for a beer to the brewhouse and Chistopher would help them make it and sell it on tap.

Just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bruns said they “started to feel the tides of business really turning,” and they had about $60,000 in revenue expected from summer 2020 events that had to be canceled.

The Factotum owners said they financially survived the pandemic, but they were operating month-to-month.

The owner of the building is Bryce Boyer. He told BusinessDen he was hopeful the Bruns would be able to stay, but the lease extension was subject to market-rate rent.

Laura and Christopher Bruns are the owners of Factotum Brewhouse.

“It was a very hard decision to tell them we’re going to have to give them their 30-day notice,” Boyer said. “We like Chris and Laura, they’re very hard workers. But it’s unfortunate they just couldn’t pay market-rate rents.”

Boyer said he has found a new tenant for the location, but he was not sure the new business was ready to announce its lease.

The Bruns said they did maintenance on the property that should have been credited toward their rent.

“We took care of the property, even taking on normal landlord duties such as snow removal and yard maintenance,” the letter stated. “In fact, every single renovation that was made to the building came out of our own pocket; the installation of bathrooms, the brewery plumbing and electrical, the glass garage door, all of it.”

In April, the Bruns said they “explored the option” to purchase the property. The Small Business Association offered one-time incentives of a 10 percent down payment for commercial property purchases to help small businesses after COVID-19 health restrictions were lifted.

But Laura said their landlord’s desired price was about double what they initially offered.

It may not be the end of the brewery for good, the email stated, but the Bruns are taking a break to spend more time with their families and friends.

“We are a profitable yet soon-to-be-homeless brewery,” the letter stated. “The good thing is that we are blessed with lots of options, and we are exploring each of those options with clarity, pragmatism and logic.”

The brewhouse will host a goodbye party on its closing day, Oct. 9.

Factotum Brewhouse owners announced Sunday that the business will shut down on Oct.…

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