The idea started over beers while sitting on a curb in Durango at breakfast time. Now, Glenwood Canyon brewing Company brews 1045 barrels annually, employs over 100 people with payroll in excess of 1.5 million, and is one of the most award-winning brewpubs in Colorado.
In 1995, Steve and April Carver were visiting Durango and ended up in a waiting line for breakfast at the popular Carver (no relation) Bakery and Brewing Company. They bought a growler of beer, sat on the sidewalk, and decided that Glenwood Springs really needed a local brewery with this beer quality. Who better to partner with than Jim and Bill Carver, owners of the second craft brewery in Colorado? Over breakfast, the Carvers met the Carvers, some convincing took place, and the successful partnership began.
The brewpub was built in Glenwood Springs in the historic Hotel Denver, which, since 1914 has had its own history of bottlers, bars and brews. Bill and Steve traveled to Miami to purchase unassembled (an understatement) brew equipment from trailer storage, under inches of dust. Under the leadership of Bill and Ken Jones, Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company’s brewer, the equipment was shipped, sorted and installed. On March 16, 1996, 74 days after the equipment arrived and less than six months after the idea was brewed on the curb in Durango, Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company opened its doors serving hand crafted beer, as well as a wide variety of pub fare.
More on Carver Brewing Co.
In 1988 the first Durango, Colorado brewpub since prohibition was established by Jim and Bill Carver. This was the second craft brewery in Colorado, which, in 2013, holds the distinction as the state with the4th highest number of breweries per capita. Carvers were second to Wynkoop Brewing Company near Coors field in downtown Denver, which was established by John Hickenlooper, now the state’s governor. Jim and Bill continue to operate the popular restaurant and brewpub on Main Street in Durango.
More on The Hotel Denver:
Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company is located in the first floor of the historic Hotel Denver, at 402 Seventh Street in downtown Glenwood Springs, just steps from the majestic Colorado River. In the 1800’s the town was called Defiance, and Seventh Street was known as Riverfront. The street began as a crude assembly of tents and dugouts, which were replaced by various small buildings by the beginning of the 1900’s. Most of the businesses on the block were saloons and brothels that served miners in the area.
In 1904, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad built a depot on the riverfront, bringing travelers and increasing the need for hotels and restaurants. Although the brothels had moved away from Seventh Street, there were still at least 14 saloons within a one block radius. In 1906, Henry Bosco moved a bottling company into the basement of one of those saloons, where the Brewpub is now. He soon acquired the saloon above his business and an adjacent saloon, and then built the Star Hotel in 1914. At the other end of the block, Art Kendrick opened a rooming house and called it the Denver Rooms, to promote Denver clientele. Also in 1914, William and Walter Wilhelmy opened a brewery a few blocks away, near the corner of Tenth Street and Pitkin Avenue. It was called the Home Brewing Company and they planned to brew up to 15,000 barrels a year. Unfortunately, Colorado passed a prohibition law that went into effect on January 1, 1916. The brewery also suffered a fire during its brief existence and all that remains are some old beer labels
Prohibition was a devastating blow to the downtown district, but Henry Bosco and Art Kendrick made the best of it and added to their holdings, expanding their hotels until they were adjoined. By 1938, the properties were combined into what is now known as the Hotel Denver.
Fast forward to 1991. The savings and loan crisis compelled the sale of the Hotel Denver, and it was purchased along with the former Rex Hotel by locals Steve and April Carver. In 1996, The Hotel Denver welcomed the brewpub, which sparked a revitalization of Seventh Street. In recent years, 7th Street has become a fashionable place to hang out and enjoy fresh beer and bakery. It serves as the stopping point for the Amtrak train, the threshold to the pedestrian bridge, and the gateway to downtown.