Idaho Springs-based Westbound & Down acquired Aspen Brewing and Capitol Creek Brewing over the weekend, and a capital raise from the summer hints at the purchase price.
Jake Gardner, director of brewing at Westbound & Down, said the brewery started raising cash back in June, when the deal was barely fermenting.
“We didn’t want to go into any business venture undergunned,” Gardner said. “So, a combination of borrowed money and raised cash injection is what got this deal done and gave us the operating capital to go in confidently.”
Westbound & Down reported raising $1 million of a $2 million goal in August. It’s still raising the last million. Gardner said the brewery also received a Small Business Administration loan to fund the rest of the deal. He declined to disclose the exact purchase price.
High Country Brewing, which is run by Don Bryant, sold the breweries. Bryant became the sole owner of Aspen Brewing in early 2020 and formed the High Country Brewing entity after purchasing Capitol Creek Brewing in 2021.
“We had a very unique position in the industry as the only licensed breweries in the Aspen area and two high-growth restaurants to complement each other,” Bryant said.
Included in the sale are the leases for Aspen Brewing’s 7,000-barrel production facility near Aspen/Pitkin County Airport and its brewpub in downtown Aspen, as well as Capitol Creek’s brewpub in Basalt. Staff at all three facilities will stay on.
“Other than having some Westbound beer at those two locations, I don’t expect major changes in what happens in their operations right away,” Gardner said. “We’re not from Aspen. We want to get up there and learn.”
Gardner said the brewery also hired Matt Husted, partner in the hospitality group behind concepts such as Bruto and The Wolf’s Tailon, to help run the restaurant portion of business.
Long term, Gardner said Westbound plans on investing in the physical spaces so it can eventually start producing Westbound beer in Aspen.
Before connecting with Bryant, Gardner said Westbound looked to expand into mountain towns and along Interstate 70 for a while.
“Outside of dollars and cents and Excel spreadsheets, we’re big outdoor enthusiasts,” he said. “We certainly had a goal of opening more mountain town brewpub operations.”
Founded in 2015, Westbound & Down has brewpubs in Idaho Springs and Lafayette, and a taproom in Denver’s Dairy Block. Earlier this year, Westbound & Down doubled its warehouse space in a move to Louisville.
Westbound is on track to produce at least 4,200 barrels by the end of the year, according to Gardner, while Aspen and Capitol Creek breweries did 2,400 barrels combined last year.
“We have a dream of running brew pubs throughout the state,” Gardner said. “I don’t want to feel unspecial, but as long as there are communities to be served and we can provide the best beer and food … that’s certainly our goal.”