Ska Brewing Company’s triumph of adaptive reuse
Durango‘s Ska Brewing Company is not just an award-winning craft brewery with a popular tasting room, but it now boasts what might be Colorado’s most environmentally innovative restaurant. The brewery’s new and straightforwardly named Container Restaurant is made from two repurposed shipping containers.
Jeremy Storm, The Container’s manager and head chef, is a Culinary Institute of America alum who developed a menu featuring several items made with Ska beer, a Sunnyside Farms pork shoulder sandwich, Steel Toe Stout barbecue sauce and even a Steel Toe Stout brownie. Local ingredients? Local, house-ground beef finished on spent grain from the brewery. Local seasonal produce. And more.The restaurant also serves hand-crafted brick-oven pizzas along with sandwiches, soups and salads, appetizers, sweets and kids’ options. Storm has said, “With The Container I have the chance to do things the way I think they should be done: fresh, local as possible, and from scratch. Not only that, but I get to create a menu that complements and draws from these amazing beers.”
There are container restaurants elsewhere on the planet in places as diverse as London, Kuwait, Jaffa and San Jose del Cabo, and the concept is not new idea at Ska. It just took a while.Matt Vincent, the brewery’s co-founder and VP, has had his eye on using shipping containers since before the World Headquarters was built in 2008. “Maybe because our old location had such limited space, we were always fascinated with the idea of creating more usable space with shipping containers,” he said. “The idea of being able to repurpose things fits with our focus on sustainability. We already have solar tubes to light the warehouse, recycled denim for insulation, former bowling lanes for tables and creating a restaurant space by repurposing shipping containers was another way to reduce our footprint.”
The restaurant also represents the evolution of eating at Ska Brewing World Headquarters. In recent years, Zia Taqueria had operated out of an Airstream trailer in Ska’s beer garden during the warmer months, but Zia recently opened its own location in Bodo Park and was no longer able to feed the brewery’s hungry customers on site. Ska president and co-founder Dave Thibodeau knew that the the food void simply had to be filled. “Our customers are here sampling world-class beers, and food has to be part of that experience.”