6:05 AM, Jun 14, 2010   |    comments
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Earlier this week the company expanded its beer-making capability by adding two additional 200 barrel fermenting machines to its Longmont brewing headquarters. Two more are expected to be added by the end of the month. The additional equipment should allow the company to expand production by about 30 percent.

The company began in Lyons back in 2002. Back then the founder, Dale Katechis, hand canned his microbrews.

The operation has certainly grown. By 2008 the company was making about 17,000 barrels. Today the number has grown to about 45,000 barrels.

Early on, Oskar Blues differentiated itself by providing its brews in aluminum cans.

"There are a lot of advantages to the can," explained Chad Melis, the company's marketing director. "First and foremost it is much more environmentally responsible. Aluminum is much more recyclable than glass. It's also very portable."

The cans also decrease fuel usage and costs for the company, since they are 35 percent of the weight of normal beer bottles.

During Gregg Moss's Where In the Town visit, Melis also praised the aluminum packaging for protecting the brew.

"It's good for the beer. It eliminates sunlight all together which damages beer and allows a little less of the ingress oxygen into the beer, which is also bad for beer," Melis said.

Oskar Blue's popular Dale's Pale Ale and other flavors are packaged in cans that are lined with a special coating so that the beer and metal never touch.

From the beginning, the company has always combined their beers with foods. Currently they own three restaurants in Longmont and Lyons. In many cases their chefs work to find new ways to incorporate the brewers' work into their offerings.

"Our beers are so unique from our lager to our stout. We have so many different flavors to play with, for whatever we are doing from chocolate with stout or Chub with barbeque," said Jason Rogers, Oskar Blue's Head Chef.

The company was recently selected as one of the 50 Colorado Companies to Watch by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Every Thursday 9NEWS reports about another company, highlighting its success in this difficult economy.

To see those stories, visit http://www.9news.com/life/programming/shows/mornings/ctw/.

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