Sanitas Brewing Co., which opened last September in Boulder, is a contributing member to the craft brewery boom.

Not even a year into the game, the startup is taking big strides to ensure its longevity if the upswing busts.

The fledgling Sanitas is in the throes of a multi-pronged expansion effort designed to help the brewery churn out more beers, create unique offerings and gain a wider following.

"We really made a decision to up that ante," said Michael Memsic, a former Boulder Beer brewer who founded Sanitas with Chris Coyne and Zach Nichols.

Last week, Sanitas dropped in a 60-barrel fermentation tank at its 3550 Frontier Ave. warehouse unit off Pearl Parkway.

The new arrival joins a 15-barrel brewhouse, three 15-barrel fermentation tanks and a 60-barrel fermenter to up the brewery's capacity by more than 50 percent in one fell swoop, Memsic said.

On the docket next is the expected arrival of 200 additional kegs, which will allow Sanitas to land its beers on more taps in a wider swath of Colorado's Front Range.

The aim, Memsic said, is to hook up more draft accounts and spread distribution outside the Boulder region to Denver and Fort Collins.

The third move involves increasing the workforce, which could reduce the 70-to-100-hour workweeks for the brewery's founders.

Additionally, Sanitas is significantly increasing its barrel-aging operations to 50 barrels from the current 15 by the end of the year, and the founders also are crafting a plan to release a third beer in cans to join the company's Black IPA and Saison on liquor store shelves.

Finally, Sanitas officials are planning a music festival at their east Boulder site that they claim could be a "significant splash for Boulder."

Marty Thalman begins the brewing process at Sanitas Brewing on Wednesday. Boulder’s Sanitas Brewing Co. is embarking on a six-figure expansion to its
Marty Thalman begins the brewing process at Sanitas Brewing on Wednesday. Boulder's Sanitas Brewing Co. is embarking on a six-figure expansion to its Frontier Avenue brewery. (Cliff Grassmick / Daily Camera)

Memsic and the founders of the privately held Sanitas declined to disclose specific financial details of the operation and its expansion efforts. The latter, they said, likely will be in the six-figure realm.

Room to grow

Sanitas officials leased the 15,000-square-foot space knowing that the expansive warehouse unit would allow for growth in the brewing operation and that it would be in a prime geographic position when the nearby 160-acre Boulder Junction mixed-use development is completed.

To start the business took the personal savings of the three founders, credit cards, a Small Business Administration loan and a friends-and-family round of equity investment, Memsic said. Regulatory filings made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission show Sanitas raised at least $375,000 from eight investors.

The resulting tap room boasts eight taps and an industrial modern feel with open ceilings, metal community tables and reclaimed Amish barn wood serving as the bar.

The three-season outdoor patio — which temporarily lost its bocce ball court when the September floods hit — features games such as cornhole and the presence of the McDevitt Taco Supply food cart.

The brewery also recently inked an agreement with Niwot's Bootstrap Brewing that allows fellow brewery owner Steve Kaczeus to essentially sublet one of Sanitas' 15-barrel fermenters. The agreement also allows for Bootstrap to use Sanitas' canning machine, a line from Boulder-based Wild Goose Engineering that pumps out 25 to 30 cans per minute.

'We have to be aggressive'

To date, all aspects of Sanitas' operations — especially tap room sales — have exceeded expectations.

"We have to be aggressive to make sure we can keep up with that demand," Memsic said.

While doing so, Memsic and the Sanitas crew are quick to note that at the heart of it all remains the beer.

"What we need to make sure is when they're trying us for the first time is that they like our beer and it's a quality product," he said.

Memsic said he believes that the rocketing growth of craft breweries — the Brewers Association reports that 413 new operations opened in 2013 — will hasten and that the ones who survive will do so by putting great effort toward quality control.

Co-founder Zach Nichols said it should come down to two tenets: quality and ingenuity.

"Who is making good beer? Who is making fun beer?" Nichols said.

Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at 303-473-1332 or wallacea@dailycamera.com.