New suds in CB South:

Zuni West Brewing taproom to open in June 

By Katherine Nettles

The much-anticipated opening of a new brewery and taproom in Crested Butte South is quickly approaching as the finishing touches on Zuni Street Brewing Company’s new building come together this spring for a taproom grand opening in June, and a summer of sunny patio time and food trucks to follow.

The new brewery and taproom, Zuni West Brewing, is located at 235 Elcho Avenue and nearing the final stages of construction on its 4,000 square foot facility. Willy Truettner, Zuni’s owner/head brewer, confirmed that the taproom will likely be ready before the brewing operations.

“We are hoping to open the taproom in June, with a grand opening party scheduled for June 15. That’s not 100% guaranteed though, as we are still waiting to get our natural gas hookup scheduled,” he said.

The building is divided into halves, with brewing in one half and the other dedicated to the taproom.

Truettner describes how the interior is designed to flow into approximately 1,500 square feet of outdoor patio and garden spaces during the warmer seasons.

“We will have a patio and beer garden space in the front of the building that will wrap around to the south side of the building,” he says. “There’s two garage doors in the front of the building that will open up the taproom to the front patio on nice weather days. We will have lots of plants both indoors and outside to make for a greenhouse-like atmosphere inside and a nice garden space outside.”

The CB South taproom replicates Zuni’s original Denver taproom, which was built in 2017, using a custom live edge cypress bar top and a pergola above the bar.

“My brother-in-law and I went down to Alabama to go pick up the bar top from a friend who has a sawmill down there. We picked the tree and milled it up while we were down there and drove the wood back,” he says.

Zuni West plans to brew some of the same beers as the Zuni Street brewery in Denver as well as new beers unique to the Crested Butte location. 

The brewhouse will be a 10-barrel operation, which Truettner says is capable of making 310 gallons of wort, the sugary grain liquid that is fed to beer yeasts, at a time. “There are six 10-barrel fermenters, four 20-barrel fermenters and a three-barrel fermenter for a total of 143 barrels of fermentation capacity to make beer. We also have two 20-barrel foeders (big wooden barrels) for making sour beer as well as lots of space for bourbon and oak barrels for making bourbon barrel aged beers and more sour beer,” he says.

However, Truettner says they won’t be getting their brewing equipment until mid-June and will need to work with the county on getting a certificate of occupancy for the taproom without the brewing equipment installed.

“Otherwise, things are looking good!” 

Zuni West received their new liquor license in April after a public hearing with the Gunnison County local liquor licensing authority, and Truettner says the plan is to sell wine and spirits along with Zuni’s house-made beers. 

The plan for food service is to sell locally pre-made items if possible, and to host food trucks on the property as well.

“We won’t have a kitchen but will have our retail food license. We are talking with a variety of food providers in the valley that will wholesale us pre-made meals that we will keep hot or heat up and sell in the taproom. We also plan to bring food trucks in some days to park out front and sell their food,” says Truettner.

He says there is potential to add a kitchen later if it is needed, but for now the taproom and brewery are the focus. “There is space on the property to add a kitchen down the line if we want to, but we have no plans to build one yet and intend to run with the current model as long as it works,” he says.  

More information about Zuni Street Brewing Company and their new CB South location can be found at www.zunistreetcb.com

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