Eleven employees at Durango Brewing Co. were laid off Wednesday as the brewery closed its taproom for a renovation project that is part of a corporate restructuring effort.
Officials for the microbrewery sent The Durango Herald a news release Thursday announcing the taproom’s closure. Brewing operations and sales will continue as normal.
“After 25 years in business, we are excited to refresh the look and feel of Durango Brewing Company,” spokeswoman Andrea Allison said in the prepared statement. “Along with the update to the taproom, we are working on updates to the logo, labels and adding new beers to the lineup.”
Allison said the company would probably not add square footage, instead focusing on making improvements to the interior and minor repairs to the building.
As a consequence of the renovations, Durango Brewing Co.’s 11 front-of-house employees were laid off. Allison said the staffers were not given advanced notice of the layoffs but were paid on the spot and given an extra 40 hours pay, whether they were full-time or not.
“Restaurant businesses are difficult to close,” she said. “If you give advanced notice, they basically close it down for you.”
Allison said the potential for a remodeling project has been on the horizon for some time, but officials were unsure when it would actually start. She said it is unclear when the renovations will be complete.
“When we get closer to that timeline, obviously, they are all welcome to come back and apply. We’d love to have them back.”
A majority interest of the Durango Brewing Co., 3000 Main Ave., was purchased by a Denver holding company, Gold Buckle Brewing, in early July. The company is run by an investment group that owns Miller International, a Western-wear manufacturer based in Denver, and also owns Joseph James Brewing in Nevada.
Allison said the company is refurbishing a 185,000-square-foot facility in La Junta that will serve as a new brewing and packaging plant, which will add up to 10,000 barrels of extra brewing capacity for Durango Brewing Co. She estimated the project to finish sometime in 2016.
Durango Brewing Co. was founded in 1990 and is the state’s third-oldest mircobrewery. According to the news release, updates can be found at the brewery’s website, www.durangobrewing.com, and on its Facebook page.
On Wednesday, the company posted, “We’ve had some changes happen at the brewery today. While our taproom will be closed for a while, we hope you will still support DBC and purchase our beers around town. Stay tuned for what’s next!”