Kokopelli Beer Company almost didn’t make it on the Westminster map. Owner Christine Wares was close to giving up on securing a loan for her business, when she received a phone call that changed everything.
“I got a phone call from a woman, I don’t even remember her name, but she told me a story about herself and she told me not to give up and to go back to the bank for one last try,” Wares said. “So I went back in and sure enough, I was approved for financing and then started from there. The bank realized I wasn’t giving up.”
Wares started brewing beer in her garage. She worked in the telecommunications industry for over 25 years before being laid off and eventually pursuing her passion for brewing beer. Wares did tons of demographic research before landing on Westminster as the location of choice, eventually opening in January at 8931 Harlan St.
“After looking into many areas, Westminster was the strongest in terms of the demographics,” she said. “My choice will be even stronger after the new mall is built and with light rail eventually come to this area.”
Wares has a 10-barrel brewing system that creates a variety of beers choices, including the six house ales that will always be on tap, and other specialty rotating beers. She said the beers have a good flavor and are an easy transition for people who enjoy lighter beers like Coors and Budweiser. She’s also quite proud of her two gluten-free beers on tap.
“The two we have on tap are 100 percent gluten-free, made with absolutely no grain,” Wares said. “We’re known for these beers.”
It’s not just about the beer at Kokopelli, but also about made-from-scratch food and wine, which sets this brewery apart from others. Manager Rachel Kuehn said offering homemade items like hummus and pizza has been a big plus for customers, as well as offering wines. Currently only Colorado wines are offered, but Kuehn said eventually wines from the three other four corner states, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona will be offered.
“There is a Kokopelli Winery in Arizona so we are really trying to get some wines from there, which is really fun,” she said. “I just think the fact that we offer wines is great because not everyone is a beer drinker.”
Kokopelli also offers beers on tap from other Colorado microbreweries, as well as holiday-themed beers. Kuehn said Mexican beers will be tapped during the Cinco de Mayo celebration on May 2-4 as well as a couple new beers for Mother’s Day.
The brewer’s choice beer, Smok’ N Jo Smoked Porter, is currently part of a fundraising effort for the Westminster Fire Department. Wares said ten percent of the proceeds from the beer will be donated to the department’s Burn fund, which provides immediate financial relief to Westminster residents that are displaced from their homes due to fire.
“We really want to continue to do community events, which means a lot to me,” Wares said. “Kokopelli is a place where people can relax, have a good time, and meet some new friends.”
For more information, visit www.kokopellibeerco.com.