A little more than seven months after opening, MobCraft's location in Denver's Curtis Park neighborhood will close on April 23.
"We are incredibly disheartened to announce MobCraft Denver’s location in Curtis Park, Colorado will be ceasing operations at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, 2023," wrote CEO Henry Schwartz in an email announcement Thursday.
"The closure is due to circumstances beyond our control with our Denver lease and a myriad of unfortunate events."
In an email to me, Schwartz added, "Our lease has been very frustrating but, unfortunately, because it's an ongoing legal issue I can't go into detail."
The location – in the former Liberati Brewery at 2403 Champa St. – opened on Sept. 5, 2022, one of a trio of expansions announced simultaneously in September 2021. The other two locations are planned for Woodstock, Illinois, and Waterford, southwest of Milwaukee.
"(The) other projects are still moving forward," he told me. "Unfortunately slower than we had hoped, but the latest in Woodstock is that we selected paint and stain colors, (and are) still planning to move into that space in early summer.
"Our electrical panel just arrived for Waterford, so we're moving forward with that electrical service upgrade."
In the meantime, the announcement noted, the location will operate as normal and will continue with all planned events, programming and parties.
"It is very difficult to close less than one year after opening," said Schwartz. "We were just gaining traction, feeling supported by the neighborhood and community, and truly loved contributing to the Denver beer and food scene.
"Our staff is phenomenal, led by managers Molly Fitzgerald and Kai Hohman, we’ve been able to give great service to so many! Our brewer Derick Rivera brewed some amazing craft beers, we collaborated with so many top-of-class brewers and are heart warmed to have served so many meals to our loyal patrons."
The Denver location was a joint venture with Pueblo, Colorado-based Dee Tacko and featured tacos and tequila alongside its crowdsourced beer.
The location opened just 11 months after it was announced and during that time brewed 14 collab beers with breweries from across the country, including Cheluna, Two22, Jade Mountain, Verboten, Lady Justice, Hogs Head, Julia Herz, Upslope, Raices, Jagged Mountain, Woods Boss, Spangalang, Pearl Street, Starkweatether, Mainstage and Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern.
Schwartz noted that MobCraft paid its more than 30 employees more than $397,000 in wages and paid, "more than $175,000 in taxes to the city, Colorado, Medicare, Social Security, unemployment insurance, etc."
"We want to leave behind a part of the passion and independent spirit we hold for Colorado," Schwartz added. "We will be donating a percentage of sales from our final week to the Hispanic Restaurant Association, Curtis Park Neighborhood Association, Colorado Brewers Guild, and our employees who have worked so diligently to get us as far as we did.
"We are gutted to share this news, want to thank all of our wonderful guests, employees, vendors, those who supported us, and look towards the future of community building, and crowdsourced collaboration craft beer via MobCraft’s locations."
The venue will host a closing party during its final weekend.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.