Downtown Craig’s Yampa Avenue to tap new business development with Belgian-style brewery Barrel Cathedral
CRAIG — Now that the ink is dry on all the contracts, the rumors brewing since early in the year can be confirmed —Yampa Avenue will gain a new business in 2019.
Developers Derek Duran, Luke Tucker, and partners purchased the historic building at 576 Yampa Ave. about a year ago with the vision of renovating it to recruit a restaurant or brewery to enhance the downtown area.
The renovation is underway, and the partners have made public a recently signed agreement with Yampa Valley Brewing Company, of Hayden, for the development of Yampa Valley Brewing Company the Barrel Cathedral, which is expected to begin operation in spring 2019.
For brewers Christian Dufresne and Erica Tieppo, the goal of the project is to build a community around their favorite beverage. Dufresne and Tieppo relocated to Craig from Durango about a year ago to join Yampa Valley Brewing Company founders and owners Jared and Elaina Aylor at their Hayden location.
To mimic the “old European community feel in Belgium and Germany, we plan on having the centerpiece on the inside, a 16- to 20-foot farm table that serves as a community space and allows for big groups to come in and sit around to order family style food options,” Tieppo said.
A new 3-percent, low-alcohol Belgian-style table beer “meant to be shared,“ will be provided to add to the casual fun, group experience, Tieppo said.
Production will occur in both places, with the brewing of the wort — the barley sugar tea — to occur in Hayden, before it’s transported to Craig for barrel aging, souring, and brewing into a “heavily farmhouse Belgian style” beer — “higher-end lines available only through Craig,” Tieppo said.
They believe the product will make their Craig facility a destination for people wanting to enjoy quality craft beer, just the sort of establishment the developers were hoping to recruit.
“We want to do our part in the community, to renovate it and, hopefully, get a little more action downtown,” Duran said.
While he didn’t share specific figures about the cost, he did say, “it’s large.”
And, once equipment for the brewery and kitchen and a “big storefront garage door” are installed, that investment will grow “larger than we anticipated … to make it more trendy than what we usually see in Craig and to upgrade it, and with upgrades come costs,” Duran said.
Approval of a lease agreement with the city of Craig in July — from which Duran, also a member of the Craig City Council, abstained — paved the way for a 12-foot garage door that will provide access to a 25-foot patio slated for the south side of the building.
“They are adding a big fire pit on that patio for a three-season patio to utilize the park in a new way,” Tieppo said.
Cutting a hole large enough for the garage door and several new windows has meant painting over a mural designed by Moffat County High School students, funded and facilitated by Rise Above Colorado — an organization that empowers Colorado youth to rise above drug use.
“It was a beautiful piece of artwork, and I enjoyed it. It didn’t fit with our final vision and our final look,” Duran said. “It is always tough to put artwork on a privately owned building that has changed hands so much.”
Tieppo, who “really, really liked the piece” agreed that its loss was a difficult decision.
“One of the things we are planning is a community rotating art wall. We want to keep the tradition in having space for local creatives to put up their art,” she said. “And, we would love to feature the same artist, if possible, for sale to support the charity.”
A small selection of wines and high-end pub style food prepared by Therese Bartholomew, of Grit Girls, are also expected to be on offer.
For anyone wanting to try their product, Dufresne said Yampa Valley Brewing Company currently offers three brands in cans at Eastside Liquor, another of Duran’s ventures.
“We want to raise the bar downtown and have nice decorations, finishes, and nice storefront to be appealing to residents and tourists that drive by every day and see it,” Duran said. “But, it’s a long-term investment, and we hope that the community sees that.”
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.