Vindication Brewing is now closed

They closed yesterday, on Saturday, 28-April-2018, so now we have five breweries in Gunbarrel, down from six.

The simple reason they closed: Six is a lot, Vindication was the weakest of the six, and the market is getting much more competitive.

Here’s an excerpt from my review:

Vindication has around half as many beers as Gunbarrel Brewing, fewer events, and no food trucks. But, if all you want is a beer and maybe some snacks, it’s top notch.

They had the plainest and smallest (or close to it) tap room, the worst location (not near any apartments, condos, or shopping), and for the last year have been in the shadow of the much larger and more aggressive Gunbarrel Brewing. What’s more, they had headwinds: Craft beer growth was down to 5% in 2017, and the number of breweries had risen by 16%, which makes less of the pie barrel for everyone. When the odds are against you, only the most competitive survive, and Vindication was certainly the least advantaged of Gunbarrel’s six breweries.

Here’s what four of the remaining five offer that’s special:

Avery: huge operation, excellent restaurant, established brand.
Asher: organic, comfy tap room, close to apartments and condos.
Finkel & Garf: close to commercial center of Gunbarrel, close to apartments and condos.
Gunbarrel: big and with lots of activities, including music.

Sadly, the recently-opened Beyond the Mountain doesn’t offer much that’s special, other than proximity to apartments/condos. They’re probably OK for now, as most startups have enough cash to run for a while, but they’ll have a tough time carving out space for themselves in an already-crowded Gunbarrel brewery scene, even without Vindication, which was on the opposite side of Gunbarrel, so probably didn’t affect them one way or another.

I’ve gotten this far in this little article and haven’t even mentioned the local beers. Vindication’s beer was terrific, especially their stout, which I’m going to miss. However, there are plenty of talented brewmasters, and I’ve found all the Gunbarrel breweries to be capable of brewing excellent beers. (As are those in Boulder, Niwot, Longmont, and Lafayette.) So great beer alone won’t be nearly enough to keep Beyond the Mountain or anyone else afloat.