Ska Street Brewstillery, the hybrid site of Ska Brewing and Peach Street Distillers in Boulder, closed this week for what co-founder Dave Thibodeau calls an extended “hibernation.” It remains to be determined when – or if – the restaurant, bar and beverage-making facility will reopen, he said.
To many in the hospitality industry, the long list of challenges Ska Street Brewstillery has faced sounds familiar. According to Thibodeau, the unrest began the day it opened: March 16, 2020.
“An hour and 11 minutes after our grand opening, the governor held his press conference and closed all bars, restaurants and breweries,” he said. “So we bought everyone a set of shots and closed up shop and it’s been a tough challenge ever since.”
Thibodeau was hesitant to say the brewery will not reopen. It was a dream project to bring together both Durango-based Ska Brewing and Palisade-based Peach Street Distillers under one roof on the Front Range. He is not yet ready to let go of this vision. Plus, there are “quite a few years” left on the lease, he said.
But staff shortages and intermittent closings due to COVID-19 meant the business was never open as much as planned. Supply chain shortages of aluminum cans and glass bottles have driven up costs and stretched the administrative staff, who oversee the three companies. Add to that the Marshall Fire that recently devastated the Boulder community, and the numbers don’t add up.
“With the fire, Boulder is hurting as a community and unfortunately it’s not a very vibrant place right now,” Thibodeau said. “We just didn’t have the resources to get to the other side. We keep thinking, tomorrow will be a better day and people will start going out again and there won’t be as much to worry about, but that’s just not happening.
Thibodeau and his team are currently talking with other restaurateurs and bar owners about reclaiming the space and helping his staff find new jobs.
“In a nutshell, the whole story is that it was a dream, a cool idea, we had all the right people and it was just the wrong time,” he said.
The brewery’s closure does not affect the operations of Ska Brewing or Peach Street Distillers, Thibodeau added.
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