Iron Bird Flies Again

You may have heard that Iron Bird Brewing was closing, selling or otherwise ceasing operations this summer. We’re here to let you know those situations are resolved and Iron Bird is back.

Problems on the horizon

The problems began to pop up when Iron Bird 2.0 was in the midst of a buildout, even before opening was considered an option. You’re all familiar with that location, which is more commonly known as Metric Brewing. The initial unraveling began when one of the original partners backed out and left Mike Centanne and Chase Perry in the lurch. Because of the arcane laws about how many liquor licenses can be registered to an individual, Centanne decided to transfer his Iron Bird shares to his wife.

When their downtown landlord heard about the transfer, he decided to act upon a clause in their lease that disallows distributing over 30% of shares. Essentially, the landlord was trying to argue that Iron Bird had defaulted on their lease because of a transfer of shares among family members.

In the meantime, Centanne left Metric and sold his shares in order to focus all of his time and effort on Iron Bird, this potential lease default and the fate of the company.

With their landlord threatening litigation, Mike and co-founder Aaron Celusta figured the only option would be to sell the business, pay off the debts and let someone else create something new in the space.

That’s where things got even crazier.

Taking offers

Initially, Troy Johnson and Alan Stiles, hot off their improper jettison from Phantom Canyon had a concept worked out all the way to the menu design stages, but the landlord dropped the hammer on the transaction requiring the new lease to be signed at $26 per square foot. According to Inc.com, that puts this little building on South Nevada in a higher bracket than retail spaces in Denver (averaging $22.67/sq ft in 2017). Bat-shit crazy.

Other interested parties approached Iron Bird, yet one-by-one they all were extinguished by the threat of higher-than-reasonable prices. One interested party even wanted to purchase the building outright, but the landlord wouldn’t budge. The landlord seemed hellbent on ruining Iron Bird, instead of finding an option for them to leave with a new business in their space. It almost came to a point where Iron Bird would lose all their equipment to the landlord, who wanted to offer up the space as a turn-key establishment. Conversations between lawyers escalated, and while this never came to fruition, it loomed heavily on Iron Bird.

Without a brewer

With the impending doom hanging like a black cloud over Iron Bird, longtime brewer Beans moved back home to Wisconsin, leaving Iron Bird without the wind beneath their wings so-to-say. With the landlord threatening to hold them in default and repossess the brewhouse equipment, the end seemed ever nearer, yet Mike did the opposite, he decided to stand firm and fight.

To keep the taps flowing, Iron Bird found themselves serving beers from other breweries, with IB taps dwindling. It’s worked, and Mike is hard at work filling the tanks, brewing the beers that Iron Bird regulars are expecting. Right now, only two taps are in-house beers, but that will soon change.

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In the end, the landlord relented and honored their lease extension without holding them in default. It very nearly ran Iron Bird into the ground, as lawyers and legal disputes are a serious drain on anyone’s pocket book. Now that it’s Mike’s sole responsibility (original partner Aaron Celusta is on the way out), you may still see some guest taps on the wall, but rest assured, he’s working tirelessly to regain Iron Bird’s reputation as a brewpub that focuses on brewing intensely flavorful beer, tap by tap, pint by pint.

Take some time one of these days to revisit—they’d appreciate it.

This Friday, they’re releasing a S’mores Brown with some special-edition Iron Bird mugs…don’t miss it.