Butcherknife Brewing Co. expanding to more taps in Routt County and beyond | SteamboatToday.com

Butcherknife Brewing Co. expanding to more taps in Routt County and beyond

Butcherknife Brewing Co.'s Amputator IPA is poured at the brewery's tap room in Steamboat Springs. Butcherknife is shipping more beer to more bars and restaurants including some in the Denver metro area.

— The picture Butcherknife Brewing Co. posted Tuesday on its Twitter feed says it all.

“Gearing up for #winter” reads the caption below the photo of a sea of kegs at the brewery in Steamboat Springs.

From the base of Hahn’s Peak to the bars in the neighborhood of Coors Field, more and more people in Colorado now are able to grab a cold pint of Butcherknife beer and learn about an up-and-coming brewery in Steamboat.

Sitting in their tap room Tuesday, owners Mark Fitzgerald and Nathan Johansing were enthusiastic and upbeat as they talked about the brewery’s first months in the craft beer market and what’s in store for its future.

With 250 brand new kegs behind them, they said the brewery is gearing up for what it expects to be a busy winter.

“We’re still just scratching the surface,” Fitzgerald said. “The next purchases are bigger fermenters and more and more kegs.”

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People are starting to take note of Butcherknife’s growth both here in Routt County and beyond.

A leading brewer in the state’s craft beer scene recently told the Denver Post that Butcherknife is the “Colorado Brewery to Watch” in 2015.

“I haven't tasted their whole lineup, but what I have is very impressive,” Front Range brewer Adam Draeger wrote in the Post’s latest “Beer in Review” series. “They are also brewing on a 30 barrel system and just starting to hit the Denver metro market. I think you'll see their beers popping up everywhere by the end of 2015.”

Butcherknife started delivering kegs to restaurants in June and opened its new tap room on Elk River Road in July.

The brewery’s online map showing where its beer is or has been on tap shows 17 locations in downtown Steamboat alone.

The beer also has been delivered to Winter Park, Idaho Springs, Aurora, Denver, Wheat Ridge, Oak Creek, Craig, Hayden and Hahn’s Peak.

On Tuesday, Butcherknife delivered beer to its newest customer, the Three Wire Bar & Grill at Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

Fitzgerald said he’s excited Butcherknife beer now can be part of a visitor’s first or parting impression of the Yampa Valley.

“If we can send them off with a good memory or greet them with a warm one, all the better,” Fitzgerald said.

So what’s next?

“We’re not looking to take over the Front Range just yet,” Johansing said. “We just want a little presence, so we targeted some of the best beer bars in the state, and a lot of them happen to be in Denver.”

Johansing said the brewery plans to start looking at places like Vail, Avon and other resort areas in Summit County to sell their beer to.

“Right now, it’s about trying to build more relationships and finding the craft beer bars that grasp and understand our market,” Johansing said.

In addition to spreading its reach in the state beyond Routt County, the brewery also has hosted several community events at its new tap room here on Elk River Road ranging from a Community Agriculture Alliance farm-to-table dinner to a political forum leading up to the November election.

Fitzgerald said the brewery aims to continue doing more than selling beer in kegs, growlers and cans.

“I’ve always envisioned Butcherknife as a way for people to learn about Steamboat,” Fitzgerald said. “People see the Butcherknife tap handle, and they wonder ‘What is that?’ It’s about a brewery in Steamboat and it’s just growing awareness about this awesome place we live in.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10