Cellar West Artisan Ales, a north Boulder craft brewery, is moving its taproom and brewing operations to a larger location in Lafayette.
The new space — which, at about 2,700 square feet, is more than double Cellar West's current Lee Hill Drive home — will be in a former Denver Post storage site at 778 W. Baseline Road.
Nichols, who lives in Lafayette, opened the brewery in early 2017. He said he went into the process of launching the business knowing he wanted to expand eventually.
"I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew," he said. "So I wanted to start off in a smaller space just as a proof of concept."
As business picked up, Nichols said he began looking for larger spaces in Boulder. He said he got close to signing a couple of leases in the city, but those deals ultimately fell through.
He wanted to keep Cellar West in the Boulder County area, so he expanded his search to Lafayette.
In terms of commercial real estate, business owners can get more bang for their buck in Lafayette as compared to cities such as Boulder and Denver, Lafayette Chamber executive director Vicki Trumbo said.
Nichols said, "Square footage price definitely played a factor" in the decision to move Cellar West to Lafayette.
"This place that we ended up is the place I was most excited about through the whole search process," he said. "We signed the lease a couple of weeks ago and we are already in there getting our ducks in a row."
The new operation, which will maintain Cellar West's focus on boutique brews aged in oak barrels, will have eight taps, a large patio area and seating for about 40 or 50 customers, Nichols said.
Even with the expansion, "we are still going to be a very small brewery," he said.
Cellar West brews about 100 barrels a year in its current location. That figure is expected to jump to 250 in the first year in Lafayette and up to 500 barrels within a couple of years, Nichols said.
He expects to double his existing staff of four when the new location opens.
Nichols said he plans to stay put at the new location for the foreseeable future. His initial lease term is five years and the Baseline Road building offers the potential for the brewery to expand its square-footage if necessary.
While an industry-wide slowdown has resulted in brewery closures throughout Boulder County this year, Cellar West will join a growing brewery scene in Lafayette.
"We have six breweries, a distillery and a cidery," Trumbo said. "They just keep popping up."
"The business climate is receptive and the population is supporting them," she said.
The chamber hosts an annual Brew Fest in September. The first event held five years ago featured about a dozen breweries. This year's festival is expected to have 26, according to chamber events and marketing director Pat Vero.
"Lafayette has had to be very patient," Trumbo said. "Now its Lafayette's turn to be in the spotlight a little bit."