Ska Street Brewstillery, the hybrid location for Ska Brewing and Peach Street Distillers in Boulder, closed this week for what co-founder Dave Thibodeau is calling an extended “hibernation.” It’s to-be-determined when – or if – the restaurant, bar and beverage making facility will reopen, he said.
For many in the hospitality industry, the laundry list of struggles Ska Street Brewstillery faced will sound familiar. According to Thibodeau, the troubles began the day it opened: March 16, 2020.
“One hour and 11 minutes into our grand opening, the governor held his press conference and shut down all the bars and restaurants and breweries,” he said. “So we bought everyone a round of shots and closed up shop and it’s been an uphill challenge ever since.”
Thibodeau hesitated to say the brewstillery won’t reopen. It was a dream project to bring both Ska Brewing, which is based in Durango, and Peach Street Distillers, which is based in Palisade, under one roof on the Front Range. He’s not ready to let go of that vision just yet. Plus there are “quite a few years” left on the lease, he said.
But staffing shortages and intermittent closures due to COVID-19 meant the business was never open as much as planned. Supply chain shortages in aluminum cans and glass bottles resulted in increased costs and stretched thin the administrative staff, which oversees all three businesses. Add on the Marshall fire that recently devastated the Boulder community, and the numbers didn’t add up.
“With the fire, Boulder is hurting as a community and it’s unfortunately not a very vibrant place at the moment,” Thibodeau said. “We just didn’t have the resources to get through to the other side. We just keep thinking, tomorrow is going to be a better day and people will start going out again and there won’t be as many things to be afraid of, but it’s just not happening.”
Thibodeau and his team are currently talking with other restaurateurs and bar owners about possibly taking over the space and helping his staff find new jobs.
“In a nutshell, the whole story is that it was a dream, a cool idea, we had all the right people and it was just the wrong time,” he said.
The brewstillery’s closure does not affect operations at Ska Brewing or Peach Street Distillers, Thibodeau added.