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Carver Brewing Co.’s brothers pass business to next generation

Brewpub remains family and sibling-owned
Brothers Jim Carver, second from left, and Bill Carver, right, toast on Thursday to the next generation of Carvers, Claire and Colin Carver, who will take over ownership of Carver Brewing Co. on Main Avenue in downtown Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Brothers Bill and Jim Carver announced this week they are stepping down from their bakery turned brewpub, Carver Brewing Co., after nearly 40 years in downtown Durango.

“It seems like a great time to pass the reins,” Jim said. “Brewpubs are a young and energetic business, and the timing is really just right.”

Ownership of the brewpub will be passed to the next generation, Colin and Claire, who share the last name of Carver. Colin and Claire are the children of Bill Carver.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled,” Claire said. “One of the things I’m most excited about is to work with a friend and a sibling. There’s an innate trust.”

Bill said having a second generation take over the business feels special.

“It feels great to have a second generation to step in and keep the business locally owned and continuous in intent,” he said.

Colin said he and his sister have no plans to shake up what is being done at Carver’s, and that it will largely remain the same community spot it has always been.

“I think a lot of it is just going to be business as usual. We’ll still have all of the things that Carver’s is known for,” Colin said.

He said the change in ownership will make Carver Brewing Co. one of the only second-generation brewpubs in the country.

“We’ve done a little research, and can’t really find another one,” he said.

Bill and Jim bought the old Durango Bakery in 1983 and operated Carver’s as a bakery for the first five years of business.

Carver’s was the second brewpub to open in the state of Colorado, just a few months behind Wynkoop Brewing in Denver.

“We’ve always been very early adopters of new trends,” Bill said. “We had the first espresso machine in Durango back when we were a bakery, we were the first to have a nonsmoking patio and then the first brewpub in the area.”

Claire, 31, and Colin, 29, will be the owners of the oldest brewpub in Southwest Colorado.

“There is a legacy component to it,” Claire said. “It’s not just a restaurant, there is some history behind it.”

Claire and Colin said they’re excited to work with the team of managers and servers that currently keep Carver’s running smoothly.

“It’s so exciting to see this cornerstone business in Durango that was started by siblings, and is being passed to siblings,” said Carver’s General Manager Dasha Greidanus.

Carver’s employs about 40 people, but it ultimately depends on the time of year, Colin and Claire said.

Colin said he’s seen a number of businesses recently be passed from generation to generation in Durango, including Maria’s Bookshop.

“It’s a bit of a cool trend to have a second, or in some cases a third generation of kids that grew up in Durango that decided to stay here,” Colin said. “Claire and I are really excited to be a part of that.”

Jim said the idea to pass the torch has been brewing since before the pandemic hit, but the brothers decided to keep working until things settled down.

“We’ve been thinking about it the last couple years, and when COVID-19 hit, we decided to just wait until it mellows out,” Jim said. “The road is becoming much clearer ahead.”

Bill and Jim said it won’t be a sudden transition. They plan on working with Claire and Colin over the coming months to support the new owners as they fill the shoes of their father and uncle.

Both Bill and Jim said they aren’t sure of any specific plans for retirement yet, but they are excited.

“We have a truck and a camper, so traveling is high on the list,” Jim said.

Since the family announced the transition Tuesday on Facebook and Instagram, the posts have received over 10,000 views. The Carver brothers said it has been fun to see how excited people are about Colin and Claire stepping in.

“It’s really touching,” Claire said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people this week that are very excited.”


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