Steamworks Brewing Company

By Kris Oyler, Co-Founder

Seeking to combine my restaurant experience and love of food with my passion for craft beer, I began developing a business plan for a brewpub. This eventually became Steamworks Brewing Company. I began brewing professionally in 1995, focusing on German-Style ales such as Kölsch, one of Steamworks’ most popular styles. Taking time to find just the right location, in 1996, Brian McEachron and I assembled a team and secured the financing to make the brewpub, and my dream, a reality. We opened Steamworks in September of that year.

I found the site for Steamworks in Durango, Colorado, in an industrial building constructed in the 1920s. Until Steamworks’ occupancy, the building had held a variety of automotive operations, which provided rustic, industrial interiors that we took pride in preserving for the community. The wooden bridge trusses and the spacious warehouse-like facility have allowed us to offer a unique environment for enjoying our craft beers.

Fun is inherent in what we do, and our brewery literally ramped up the fun during the 2001 UCI World Mountain Bike Championships, held in Durango. The course was actually routed directly through the brewery via a removed window and ramp. I enjoyed watching the likes of Ned Overend and Missy Giove roll through between the bar and brewhouse, with spectators enjoying a pint at the same time!

I take pride in our team creating well-balanced, drinkable beers that appeal to both the novice and the hard-core craft beer fan. We are passionate about every pint; and when we pair these craft beers with incredible food, it takes this passion to an even greater level. The pinnacle of these pairings occurred in March of 2009, when I received an Outstanding Contribution Award from the James Beard Foundation after a beer dinner in New York City.

As Durango gives to us, we give to Durango. I’m very proud of our on-going support of the area’s non-profit organizations, including co-coordinating special craft beer-related fundraisers. These events not only further the appreciation of craft beer, but sustain the community.

Steamworks was the first Durango restaurant to launch a recycling collection area and today secures 100 percent of its electricity from green energy sources. Spent grains from the brewing process are also given to local cattle ranchers whose beef is served on our brewpub menus, along with locally-grown, organic products. Steamworks is now woven into the fabric of Durango, and I can’t imagine a better life.

Learn more about Steamworks Brewing Company.

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