USA, CO: Prost Brewing building a third location with a pilot microbrewery
Like a lot of breweries that package significant amounts of beer, Prost Brewing is exiting the pandemic in some ways better off than it went into it. Not only did the company produce more beer in 2020 than in the previous year, but it also added a line of seltzers and brought on a significant restaurant expert in Boyd Hoback, who founded and led the Denver-based Good Times Restaurant chain for thirty years before stepping down in 2019, Westword reported on June 14.
Now Hoback and Prost's owners, the father-son duo of Ken and David DeLine, are adding a menu designed by well-known chef Max MacKissock (Bar Dough, Morin, among others) and Juan Padró, founder of Culinary Creative (which started off with Highland Tap & Burger, and now has a growing empire, including those where MacKissock oversees the kitchen and menu) and building a third location with 7,000 square feet of space and a 4,000-square-foot patio, at 53 Centennial Boulevard in Highlands Ranch.
When it opens possibly as soon as mid-September the new biergarten will also include a stage, an outdoor bar, fire pits and a one-barrel pilot brewing system that Prost will use to experiment with a wider array of German beer styles that it can't make on its existing system. Prost will also have its line of Alpenblume seltzers and offer beers from other local breweries, especially styles that Prost doesn't make itself.
If the biergarten is a success, Hoback and the DeLines would like to open at least three more locations along the Front Range, all with food, biergartens and a similar vibe.
Prost is one of several breweries that are expanding and/or adding food concepts, including Odell Brewing, Denver Beer Co. and TRVE Brewing. Others, like Ska Brewing, Platt Park Brewing and Prost itself, have converted to "brewpubs" for the same reason.
"We are talking about the full-blown beer garden opportunity...similar to what Denver Beer Co. is doing now," Hoback says, adding that the new spot will focus on a different demographic than the original LoHi location, catering more toward families and nearby business employees, who will come out for lunch during the work week.
The menu, which debuts in LoHi later this week, is "Germanesque," and includes meat and cheese boards, salads and a wide variety of German classics, like spaetzel, schnitzel, pretzels, bratwurst and knackwurst. There will also be sliders, burgers, doner kebabs and more. The cocktail menu includes a "German" Old Fashioned, an Elderflower Mule, a Grapefruit Paloma and a frozen Reisling wine cocktail called a Freisling.
David DeLine, whose family bought out Prost's other investors in 2018, has been working for the past two years to elevate the Prost "experience" to match the level of the beer mostly lagers like pilsners, Marzens and dunkels. In 2019, he renovated both the LoHi and Fort Collins taprooms, updated the brewery's logo and branding, and switched all of its packaging from bottles to cans.
That turned out to be a fortuitous decision, because Prost's canned-beer sales took off during the pandemic and the brewery was able to increase its production in 2020 over 2019 even as keg and taproom sales declined. This year, Prost will begin distributing in Nebraska, and it plans to enter two more states after that.
DeLine's expansion goals gained even more steam over the past few months, though, as Hoback, who also engineered Good Times' purchase of the Bad Daddy's Burger Bar chain, joined Prost as an equity investor. A longtime friend of Ken DeLine's, Hoback has decades of experience in the restaurant business. As a result, he was able to connect Padró with the DeLines and then help find and secure the spot for the new location.
"We are lucky to have Boyd join the team," David DeLine says. "We've had a lot of success with the brand, and we're excited for the atmosphere and the experience we can create."
Prost also plans to eventually build a production facility where it can focus on brewing, leaving more space in LoHi for customers. If that happens, the brewery is likely to replace its massive copper 1960s-era brewhouse with a modern system. The old brewhouse was originally purchased from another brewery in the famed beer-brewing region of Bamburg, Germany, by Prost's founding brewer, Bill Eye. Eye, who left Prost to start Bierstadt Lagerhaus, had the system dismantled and shipped to Denver, where he rebuilt it.
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