With strong ties to aviation, the three co-owners of FlyteCo Brewing said they jumped at the once-in-lifetime chance to expand their business and take over the commercial space in the former Stapleton International Airport air traffic control tower building. “The building itself is on-brand for us,” quipped Morgan O’Sullivan. The other two owners, Jason Slingsby and Eric Serani, are both pilots—hence the name of the company—and their original brew pub in the Berkeley neighborhood features a replica Boeing 737 fuselage and other aeronautic design elements. In addition, the company donates ten percent of its profits to aviation scholarships that benefit youth and veterans.
Serani said he hopes to take the aviation theme to the next level at the new Central Park location. “We want to show the history of aviation in Colorado, and we also want to show the history of the airport in this neighborhood. We want it to almost be a mini aviation museum,”
The iconic control tower building was formerly occupied by the restaurant and entertainment company Punch Bowl Social, which offered food, drinks, bowling, miniature golf, and arcade games. It closed its doors in 2020, a victim of the pandemic.
O’Sullivan says FlyteCo plans to keep most of those entertainment components and the basic layout of the restaurant while adding dramatic aviation decor. It will feature full bar and wine service in addition to beer. “We will be brewing onsite here, but it will be a smaller brew system so we can do more experimentation,” says O’Sullivan.
It will also feature a coffee bar and restaurant, which will be open for early morning rush hour. “We want to lean into this neighborhood. We want families to use this as a community gathering place. We want people to use this as their daytime work space or for office happy hours or kids’ birthday parties. And we’d also love to be a gathering space for pilots, flight attendants, and anyone who shares a passion for aviation,” says O’Sullivan.
The 164-foot tower is not part of FlyteCo’s lease, as much as the brewers would love to utilize it. “We won’t give up the hope of using it, but as of now, there’s no real way because of accessibility,” says O’Sullivan.
The control tower building will be the second location for this relatively young business—and at 17,000 square feet, it will be three times the size of its original location. FlyteCo opened its Tennyson Street doors almost three years ago and gained attention last August for flying a plane (built by Serani) to the Western Slope to harvest hops and then fly them back to Denver to be freshly brewed. FlyteCo is also famous for serving its tasting flights of beer in a wooden holder shaped like an airplane.
Serani says the roots of the brewing company go back to 2008 when he and Slingsby were engineering students at CU Boulder and they bonded over their passion for flying. “Then I got a home brewing kit as a gift. Jason was a chemical engineer, so we became fascinated with the science of making beer.” Soon, they began dreaming of starting their own brewery and—with the support of friends and family—made that dream come true.
FlyteCo plans to open its Central Park location this summer, barring any supply chain issues or permitting delays.