The Creator of Blue Moon Launches New Family-Run Brewery in Denver
Keith Villa is likely one of the most successful brewers you have never heard of. In 1995, he created Blue Moon, which, as of last year, was America’s eleventh best-selling beer brand. He was working for Coors at the time and received little recognition outside of the industry. However, this past January, after 32 years with the company, Villa retired. That retirement came with a hint of things to come, and not long after, he announced plans to open a brand of THC-infused non-alcoholic beers. But turns out his skills brewing alcoholic beers won’t be going to waste: His family is also launching a new brewery – and he hopes his daughter will one day be at the helm.
According to Brewbound, Villa and his wife Jodi have quietly launched Donavon Brewing in their hometown of Arvada, Colorado. (He had a six-month non-compete clause with MillerCoors, which might explain why the project had previously flown under the radar.) Jodi is serving as president of the new brewery, which is named after her father, and though Keith will initially be serving as brewmaster, the plan is to have his 25-year-old daughter, Catherine, to take over.
“What I’m doing is I’m trying to pass on some of my knowledge in brewing — and how to create beers — to her, so she can take that and run Donavon and create some fantastic beers that we’ll all be proud of,” Keith was quoted as saying.
In the interim, Catherine – who was a 2016 graduate of the University of Colorado-Boulder – will be serving as manager of operations. And making the brewery truly a family affair, even the Villas’ other 21-year-old daughter will help out with social media while studying marketing at the University of Colorado. “They’re at that prime age where they understand exactly what young drinkers are looking for,” Keith added.
As for the beers themselves, Brewbound reports that Donavon will focus on high-end brews like wine-beer hybrids and Grand Crus, though they won’t be above making simpler styles like a Mexican-style lager and an amber ale – the two beers the Donavon Brewing website says are coming up first.
Keith said these first beers will be released “the minute that we get our approval for the state of Colorado, which should be any day.” But don’t expect them to have the same availability as Villa’s storied Blue Moon just yet. To start, the family is working out of a small, nanobrewery-size two-barrel brewhouse, and the plan is to only distribute on the north side of Denver. In fact, Catherine will be making the deliveries herself. Sounds exactly like the kind of thing a father would do to help show his daughter the ropes.