Change brewing at Edgewater: Kannah Creek paves way to expand restaurant
The Kannah Creek Brewing Co. is making some big changes at its Edgewater Brewery near Las Colonias Park and the big news for patrons is that it could soon be much easier to get a table inside during the winter months.
The company recently announced that it’s selling off its 30-barrel brewing system and replacing it with a 10-barrel system that will open up a good portion of its brewing room for seating.
“It gives us a little more flexibility,” said Bernadette Jeffryes, business manager and co-owner, who noted the indoor capacity will likely more than double, jumping to about 120 seats.
At the heart of the move is a change in philosophy with Jeffryes, and her husband, head brewer and co-owner, Jim Jeffryes.
Two years ago, the focus of Kannah Creek, along with running their tasting rooms and restaurants in Grand Junction and Fruita, was to expand its reach out of Colorado and bring its beer to other states around the U.S.
However, the competitive market along with new developments near the brewery have changed things for the Jeffryeses. The new amphitheater in Las Colonias Park next door to the Edgewater Brewery, 905 S. Struthers Ave., and the planned business park built around Bonsai Design’s pending move to the area could lead to a lot more business for the already popular spot.
While the change came together somewhat quickly, it’s part of what the business is all about for Bernadette.
“With any brewery, you’re always changing what you’re doing, looking at different styles, seeing what the market is looking for,” she said. “In general, we’ve always done pretty traditional-style brewing and that won’t change.”
In addition to adding seating, there is also potential to grow the kitchen, which has offered a more limited menu compared to the Kannah Creek Brewing Co., 1960 N. 12th St., and Kannah Creek Brewing West, 456 Kokopelli Drive in Fruita.
Edgewater Brewery store manager Mitch Marosi is excited for the changes to come and said the business really dips in the winter, even though it can be standing room only inside.
“We’re about half as busy in the winter,” Marosi said. “I like the idea of branching out and different things. It’ll have more variety.”
The 30-barrel system has already been sold to Steady Hand Brewing Co. in Roswell, Georgia, and Jim is in the process of taking apart some of the system to prepare to ship it, while still brewing some of his German-style lagers and ales.
The 10-barrel system should be in the store in about six weeks as it is on its way from Japan. Bernadette Jeffryes said the smaller system won’t have too big an impact as Edgewater wasn’t brewing to full capacity. The brewery also brews Many Rivers’ Brewing Co.‘s beer, which will also not change.
The Kannah Creek Brewing Co. location has a seven-barrel system and Bernadette said the brewery might lean on that site to brew a little more beer during the transition between systems.
Kannah Creek also has its bottling system — housed at Edgewater Brewery — listed for sale and has plans to change to a canning system.
The brewery partners with Many Rivers — a public benefit corporation that donates its profits to causes that support preserving rivers — to bottle both beers at Edgewater, but the switch to cans makes sense in both companies’ eyes.
“Cans are what you need on the river. You don’t want bottles down there. That really expands our market to people who enjoy the rivers,” said Tim Carlson, president of Many Rivers Brewing Co.
Carlson, who is in charge of finding the canning system, added that liquor stores like cans because they take up less room on shelves. Many Rivers’ beer can be found throughout liquor stores and restaurants in the Grand Valley, while Kannah Creek’s beer is all over Colorado.
Bernadette said Kannah Creek will still be able to offer the same beers they always have and she said she looks forward to offering even better service to restaurant patrons.
“It’s a really fun business to be in and it kind of gives flexibility to do things you want to do,” she said.