Denver’s Wah Gwaan Brewing Company will close its taproom at the end of January

This will be the end — at least, for now — of one of the few Black-owned taprooms in the city.

Wah Gwaan Brewing Co. La Alma/Lincoln Park, Feb. 15, 2022.

Wah Gwaan Brewing Co. La Alma/Lincoln Park, Feb. 15, 2022.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
kyle harris

Denver has a shortage of Black-owned breweries. And now, one of those, the Jamaican taproom Wah Gwaan Brewing Company, will be shuttering its doors at the end of the month.

When the business opened 18 months ago at 925 W. 8th Ave., the owners hoped to create a space for community events and education. The goal was to launch a laidback brewery but also ignite social change within the craft-brew industry.

The brewery pours Jamaican-inspired brews like the Belgian Tripel 3 Little Birds and the coffee stout Black Caesar.

Wah Gwann Brewing Company owners Harsha Maragh and Jesse Brown announced the decision over the weekend on Facebook.

Harsha Maragh (left) and Jesse Brown, owners of Wah Gwaan Brewing Co., in their La Alma/Lincoln Park tap room. Feb. 15, 2022.

Harsha Maragh (left) and Jesse Brown, owners of Wah Gwaan Brewing Co., in their La Alma/Lincoln Park tap room. Feb. 15, 2022.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

“It is with the heaviest heart that we’re announcing the closure of the Wah Gwaan taproom on January 31st,” the owners wrote. “While we absolutely love our community and want to keep producing island brews, there are insurmountable external obstacles that have hindered us up until this point.”

Like many businesses that have tried to launch and survive the pandemic, Wah Gwaan faced economic strife.

“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,” the owners wrote.

For Maragh, who was born in the Bronx to parents who immigrated from Jamaica, and Brown, who grew up in West Denver, “opening a brewery in Colorado that celebrated our cultures was a dream,” they wrote.

And just because the brewery is closing, doesn’t mean the dream is dead. In fact, the owners are already planning events and serving up their brews at venues around town.

Even hope of a brick-and-mortar location remains, the owners noted. They’re already looking for a new spot.

“Closing our Denver taproom doesn’t mean that Wah Gwaan won’t reopen someday,” they wrote.

We have reached out to the owners and will update this story when we hear back. 

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