Steamworks cuts back

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Steamworks cuts back

Brewer to shut Bayfield plant, restaurant in phases


Nanette Yocum, general manager for Steamworks Brewing Co., poses in front of the brewer’s restaurant and plant Thursday afternoon in Bayfield. Steamworks executives announced the brewpub will close its Bayfield operations in phases. Until then, “It’s business as usual,” Yocum said.

Steamworks cuts back


Nanette Yocum, general manager for Steamworks Brewing Co., poses in front of the brewer’s restaurant and plant Thursday afternoon in Bayfield. Steamworks executives announced the brewpub will close its Bayfield operations in phases. Until then, “It’s business as usual,” Yocum said.

Costs cut into brewers' profits


By Dale Rodebaugh

Herald Staff Writer





Steamworks Brewing Co., which paradoxically is closing its production plant in Bayfield even as sales are increasing, is not the only Durango brewer feeling the effects of a flat economy.



“We’re doing really, really well,” Dave Thibodeau, co-founder of Ska Brewing Co., said Thursday. “Our January-through-November sales will be up 50 percent over last year, same period.”



But the costs of production and expansion are eating him alive, Thibodeau said. The cost of some varieties of hops has increased 300 percent in the last year, and barley is much more expensive, too, he said.



“Our cost of raw materials is up exorbitantly,” Thibodeau said. “Our growth – new products – has caught us off guard, but it’s hard to manage because our margins are skin tight. We can’t raise the price of products to cover the price increases.”



Scott Bickert, the managing brewer at Durango Brewing Co., said he won’t know until year’s end what sales did in 2009. But Bickert estimated sales increased at least 20 percent.



The cost of production is definitely up, Bickert said.



Steamworks, where production will be 5,600 barrels this year, is seeing month-to-month sales increase 30 to 40 percent over the corresponding period last year, co-founder and CEO Kris Oyler said. But the cost of raw materials is becoming prohibitive, he said.



daler@durangoherald.com

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