Durango will soon be down to just four breweries.
Erik Maxson, co-owner of BREW Pub & Kitchen, has announced the brewery in downtown Durango will close March 31.
“It’s an incredibly emotional period in my life,” Maxson said.
After working at Carver Brewing Co. for nearly 15 years, serving as head brewer there for 12 of those years, Maxson in 2013 opened BREW at 117 West College Drive.
But Maxson said the brewery has been unable to recover since business took a hit during the 416 Fire.
“When that began June 1,” he said, “we just haven’t seen a return to normal.”
By the end of summer, Maxson said he was unable to keep up with rent. He said business has been down an estimated 30 percent for the past eight months.
Around the end of February, Maxson said the building’s landlord, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad owner Al Harper, ran out of “patience and generosity.”
“It got to a point where they didn’t feel like trying to find a way to help us get caught up,” he said. “They decided they weren’t willing to come up with a plan that allowed us to get to May, where business starts to pick up.”
Harper, when contacted Wednesday, said he tried to be as accommodating as possible: he let BREW operate even though it hadn’t paid rent in seven months.
The two sides tried to come up with a plan to keep BREW afloat, but none of the ideas proposed by Maxson actually would have paid Harper back, Harper said.
“I can’t go forever without him paying rent, and it just came to an end,” Harper said.
Maxson said since word spread BREW is closing, he’s seen an uptick in business. On Saturday, there will be a “Grand Closing Party” open to the public.
A GoFundMe campaign was also launched to help save the business by raising $100,000. As of Monday morning, the effort raised nearly $3,000.
Maxson said it’s unlikely BREW will relocate, but “anything is possible.”
As for life after BREW, he said, “Maybe I might take a deep breath.”
Last August, Durango Brewing Co. abruptly closed its taproom, fired all of its local employees and moved its operations to La Junta, taking the Durango name with it.