Black Project Wild and Spontaneous Ales has closed in Denver

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales, which shook up the Denver beer scene when it began in 2016, has closed its doors, according to an Instagram post from owner James Howat.

The brewery, at 1290 S. Broadway, was born out of Former Future Brewing, which Howat and then-spouse Sarah Howat, had begun two years earlier. The two wanted to shift their priorities from a taproom serving a more conventional lineup of beers to one that only brewed beers fermented with wild yeast and bacteria found in Denver’s air — rather than commercial yeast.

Black Project was an immediate success, 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. Other breweries in the city began experimenting with spontaneously fermented beers as well.

Howat couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, but The Denver Post will update this story if possible. In the meantime, here is the rest of Howat’s post.

“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,” Howat wrote on Instagram.

“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,” he continued. “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.

“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.”

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