Highlands Ranch brewery to close and make way for another longtime beer maker to move in

Grist Brew Co. announced on Wednesday that it will be closing its 12-year-old Highlands Ranch taphouse at the end of the year, making room for Littleton’s Living the Dream Brewing to take its place in January. The move comes as Grist owners Chuck Norman and Jim Mack, both petroleum engineers, are looking to get back to their roots. Living the Dream owner Jason Bell, on the other hand, sees the move as a strategic one for his brewery, which has been looking for a new home for over a year.

The change will also see Living the Dream Brewing taking over the small bar space that Grist had been operating inside Littleton’s Sterling Center, serving residents of the Sterling Ranch neighborhood. Living the Dream is set to make the move on Dec. 29, while the ownership change is expected to close on the same day. Bell hopes to make cosmetic changes and have the brewery reopen inside Grist by mid-January.

The move is seen as an upgrade by Bell, with Grist’s brewing system considered bigger, more advanced, and more efficient than Living the Dream’s current setup. Furthermore, Grist’s taproom and overall infrastructure are described as “much nicer” than their current space, although Bell mentioned that they may need to give it a more rustic and outdoorsy feel to match their brand.

Historically, the Business of brewing beer has evolved significantly over the past decade, with the industry becoming more mature and consumers’ habits changing. Bell stated, “Ten years ago, it was 65% fun and cool, and 35% Business. Now it’s 95% Business.” He emphasized the importance for each brewery to understand how it fits into the beer economy and what its goals are for the future.

The deal represents a significant milestone for both breweries and is expected to be concluded by December 29, with the reopening of Living the Dream inside Grist planned for mid-January.

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