Denver’s Wah Gwaan Brewing announced Saturday on Facebook that it will close its doors on January 31 after only 18 months in operation.
The exquisitely adorned brewery, located at 925 West 8th Avenue, has a Jamaican flair, with many paintings drawn from co-owner Harsha Maragh’s East Indian and Jamaican roots. Numerous ethnic activities were held there, such as the Black People Know Things trivia night and music and food pop-ups. Caribbean fruits and spices were frequently found in tapped beers.
Maragh and her husband, brewery co-owner Jesse Brown, posted on Facebook, “While we passionately love our community and want to keep brewing island brews, there are insurmountable external impediments that have hampered us up to this time.”
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“Inflation, rising costs, and the state of the economy have put us in this difficult position, and we are not able to remain open while providing the service you’ve come to love and expect,” they added. (Maragh couldn’t be reached right away for more comment; if that changes, The Denver Post will update this article.)
Wah Gwaan opened in June 2021, taking the place of Next Stop Brew Co., which ran its business from 2017 to 2020 in the exact location before changing its name and rebranding failed. A year after the nationwide George Floyd protests, more than 15 months into the COVID-19 epidemic, and six months after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Wah Gwaan immediately struck a chord by providing a haven for all.
Maragh and Brown’s ethnicity made them one of the state’s rare minority-owned brewers and one of the even fewer Black-owned breweries. Brown, a former U.S. Marine and native of Denver identifies as biracial. The Denver-based Hogshead Brewery, Novel Strand Brewing, and Longmont’s Outworld Brewing are also on that list.
“For this Bronx girl born to parents that immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica and this West Denver native, opening a brewery in Colorado that celebrated our cultures was a dream. Closing our Denver taproom doesn’t mean that Wah Gwaan won’t reopen someday,” Maragh wrote.
“If there’s anything we learned in this crazy process of starting and owning our own business, it’s that no matter how stressful, every little thing is gonna be alright.”
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