When COVID hit in 2020, we expected a massive number of brewery closures, that didn’t happen. Sure some breweries did close during what would become almost two years of on and off lockdowns, but many of those were struggling even before the pandemic.
Even though beer sales are recovering from the lows of 2020 and the public is returning to bars and taprooms for many craft breweries things aren’t normalizing fast enough. And many are burdened by debts incurred over one of the most difficult economic periods the country has ever seen.
Now with rising interest rates and the worst inflation in nearly 40 years, craft brewery closures seem to be escalating … And Black Project Beer’s announcement this week was particularly painful.
Denver’s Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales was a special destination in a city renowned for its beer and craft breweries. Born out of Former Future Brewing, which James Howat and then-spouse Sarah Howat launched in 2014, the couple switched their emphasis to beers fermented with naturally occurring yeast that was captured from the air around the brewery and rebranded the company in 2016.
Black Project became an immediate success according to the Denver Post “garnering acclaim not just in Colorado, where beer geeks would line up outside the brewery for every new release, but around the country and overseas. It also won awards and built a huge following among rabid fans.”
But on September 12 Howat took to Instagram to announce that Black Project had closed
This from that announcement…
Black Project is Closing
It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you that I’ve decided to close and bring Black Project to an end as gracefully as possible. A lot of different things have come together over the last year that have made this project no longer viable…
A combination of business decisions that were made prior to and not expecting a pandemic, followed by decreased foot traffic, rising rent and raw material prices, and a changing beer market, among other things – have made it so that it isn’t possible for me to go on making the kinds of beers I want to make.
It wasn’t an easy decision but I’m happy with what Black Project has achieved and now I feel like it is time that I have to move on to other things.
Our taproom will be closed effective immediately.
This account will no longer be monitored after this post, so I just want to go out by saying thank you to all of our fans, Agents, supporters, employees, friends, and mentors.
You all have made Black Project what it was and provided the motivation to make beer in probably the most difficult way possible for the last 8 years. So, again, thank you all so much for your love and support.
We’ll miss seeing your faces at the taproom and at beer festivals around the world. Thank you for everything and long live spontaneous fermentation.