BOULDER — Avery Brewing Co., which celebrated its 30th anniversary in Boulder in July with hundreds of friends, family and fellow brewers, won approval last month for a major expansion of its patio, while local stewards of flora and fauna won assurances that impacts on the neighboring Twin Lakes wildlife area would be minimized.
Boulder’s Planning Board gave its unanimous blessing to the patio project, which calls for a 7,062-square-foot outdoor seating area to be built on the southeast corner of the 4920 Nautilus Court site. The proposed expansion would roughly triple the existing patio space, city planning documents show.
Avery’s “request to expand the outdoor seating is largely a response to changes in the marketplace brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting desire among customers for more outdoor seating,” the documents said.
Avery founder Adam Avery said that the outdoor expansion plan is “a direct reaction to what happened during COVID.”
Avery joked that “maybe the silver lining of COVID is that we’re finally able to get the size patio we always wanted.”
In a memo to the Boulder Planning Board, Avery representatives wrote, “The recent pandemic has quite possibly changed the way businesses operate in the realm of public safety. Development regulations should reflect on the impacts that this pandemic has had on local businesses. The ability to provide safer spaces for people to gather in an environment that also supports business and improves the overall aesthetic of a community, is a win-win scenario.”
Planning Board member Laura Kaplan went a step further. “This is win-win-win. It’s better for the patrons of the patio, better for the wildlife and better for the business,” she said.
Due to Avery’s proximity to Twin Lakes, planning officials sought input from Boulder County Open Space staff, who recommend mitigating wildlife impacts by ensuring that all patio lights point downward, including a landscaped buffer around the patio and restricting amplified music after 11 p.m. These recommendations were included by the Planning Board as conditions of approval.
“The Twin Lakes site does not include any species of special concern, but does serve as habitat for bats, a variety of birds and various foraging animals,” Boulder senior planner Chandler Van Schaak said. Boulder County Open Space staffers’ “recommendations can be summed up as ‘keep night as night.’”
Avery’s patio expansion is planned for an area of the taproom site in use as temporary outdoor seating, an area that was packed with vendors, food trucks and a stage for live music during its recent anniversary celebration.
The existing temporary seating area is informally demarcated — there are some umbrellas, chairs and barrels around the edge of the seating area. The existing temporary seating area “was approved in 2020 as part of the city’s outdoor seating expansion program, which was a city-sponsored program intended to support businesses through COVID. The proposal generally falls within the same boundary as the existing temporary seating area, which has been operational since 2020.”
For its pearl anniversary, Avery celebrated with an “invitational,” a formerly annual event that had been on hiatus for three years. The invitational brought together more than 60 breweries to showcase their wares alongside live music and food trucks.
“It’s a celebration of beer first and foremost,” Avery said. “…We’ve been able to build our dream brewery here in north Boulder, and we’re really grateful for everyone who’s helped put us in this position.”
Avery said he prefers to focus on the future rather than reminisce on Avery’s early days. “That was a gazillion beers ago, how am I supposed to remember?” Looking ahead toward the next three decades, Avery said he “doesn’t know if he’ll be as involved as I am today,” but “hell yeah, I hope we’re around in another 30 years — I hope we’re around in 100 years, that’d be great!”
Avery’s mission, he said, is to never abandon “the pursuit of perfection. You’ll never make the perfect beer, but as long as you walk in every morning trying to improve, I think that’s a pretty good philosophy for success.”