Pirie Associates Completes Adaptive Reuse of Dos Luces Brewery in Denver’s Historic South Broadway Neighborhood

Date: 09.11.18

Dos Luces is the first taproom in the U.S. to offer two ancient ceremonial brews — Mexican Pulque and Peruvian Chicha — in a contemporary setting.

Denver, CO— Dos Luces Brewery is celebrating its recent opening with friends and family at 1236 South Broadway in Denver, after New Haven based architects Pirie Associates completed their culturally-relevant renovation of the 3,000 square-foot former antique store.

Founded by brew specialist Judd Belstock and Sam Alcaine, a professor of fermentations at Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the brewery serves two gluten-free beers with ritualistic origins: a corn-based Chicha from South and Central America and a corn and maguey-based Pulque — one of the oldest fermented beverages known to North America. “

Judd came to us with two specific requests,” says Laura Pirie, principal architect at Pirie Associates. “Imagine if European colonization had not interrupted the development of Latin American culture — what would the spaces we live in and our fermented beverages look like?”

Secondly, Belstock told the design team, “I do not want want a bar where people sit shoulder to shoulder and do not interact.”

In response to Belstock’s request for a sincere communal experience, Pirie Associates transformed the long, dark and narrow space into a multiverse based on Aztec and Mayan mythology. The three separate areas include: the entrance, mimicking a zócalo or central plaza, the central production area with fermentation equipment on one side and brite tanks on the other — all completely visible to the public, and finally the Brewer’s Table, a verdant and intimate space gently illuminated by overhead skylights.

This area includes a custom mural by the renowned Teotihuacan based artist Emily Grieves to represent the merging of three worlds. Called Axis Mundi: Homenaje al Maguey y Maiz, the piece includes four separate panels painted in Mexico and printed on canvas in Colorado.

As part of their focus on health and wellbeing, Pirie Associates incorporated several measures to ensure the project’s sustainability. In addition to a variety of plant material that absorb CO2 emissions released during fermentation, the renovation includes a highly efficient rooftop HVAC system, low energy LED lighting and low-flow fixtures that reduce water demand. Low VOC finishes such as tile, wood, steel, and clay plaster further enhance indoor air quality.

“The space is designed to be a community space,” says Belstock. “I truly believe when customers are in here, it belongs to them."


Pirie Associates draws on decades of experience, clear communication and level-headed project organization and management to design environments that encourage inhabitants to live more fully, work more authentically, and play more freely. A certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) with professional registrations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, also NCARB certified to practice nationwide, the firm strives to assure the resources consumed in making and operating environments are balanced and restored by the resources they give back: physically, intellectually, and in service.

Dos Luces Brewery. The sun and the moon. Inti and Meztli. Chicha and Pulque. We chose the name Dos Luces because it represents the duality of light; while you might be tempted to imagine this as light and darkness, we prefer to consider the bright light of day in contrast to the brightest beacon of light at night. Call it divine inspiration or simply the accumulation of ideas within two swirling brains, Dos Luces represents the idea that there is always light when you look for it.


Want to learn more? Check out the Dos Luces project


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