As DJ Saddy Jeff sulked in the corner — spinning an Emo’s Greatest Hits set of tunes — a bigger-than-usual crowd of thirsty Thursday holiday refugees gathered to pair beers and treats, watch “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and bask in the warm radiation of songs from the ghosts of a vaguely-goth past.
In the (normally) quiet West Arvada suburbs of Denver, Colorado, LUKI Brewery has found a niche in its array of unique events. From the ever-popular Gilmore Girls Day, to Goat Yoga, and a bunch of wacky stuff in between, Founder Jeff Smith has created something special that (perhaps strangely, at times?) really unites the community.
“One of things we always set out to do, is provide unique entertainment and experiences. We don’t want to fit into the expectations of other breweries — It’s not just your regular trivia, bingo, paint and sip, etc… although we do that, too. We’re close by and accessible to a lot of people here in the ‘burbs, so now you don’t have to go to Denver for something different when we do these signature events, so they’ve become popular.”
An Emo Night Out
The most recent event — “An Emo Nightmare Before Christmas” — was a fun twist on their annual holiday event, featuring Tim Burton’s stop-motion masterpiece, a temporary tattoo station, hair coloring station, emo tunes, and a beer-and-treats pairing.
“We were talking for weeks about having the ‘anti-holiday’ before the real one — like Festivus but not that — and everything came together with it being the solstice, the perfect type of music, and the movie. Considering it was a Thursday night, I thought it was a strong turnout, although not as big as events we do on the weekend, or any other holiday events. Dec 21 is a Saturday this year, so we’ve been talking about it being bigger next time around. There’s a lot we wanted to explore, just ran out of time. We didn’t even do a beer release! I feel like a lot of people are holiday-event’d out by then, I’d love to turn this into a “thing” for the west side of town. And being the resident emo boy at heart, one way or another I knew I was going to have fun listening to a lot of my music even if nobody showed,” said Smith.
The Cornerstone Event
The event that kicked off LUKI’s subsequent run of successful events is their beloved Gilmore Girls Day. The event is incredibly popular with LUKI fans (and obviously fans of the show). If you’re thinking that this seems like a strange kind of event to see such amazing success, you’re not alone. Nevertheless, Smith and the crew at LUKI pull out all the stops and make it one of the Denver area’s most memorable local brewery events.
“Our biggest mission with every event is to make it authentic as possible. Others within a particular interest or fandom — be it Gilmore Girls or anything else we do — can see we put a level of detail into it that is appreciated. Every event you see us do, there is someone behind the scenes who’s a big fan, and will lead a majority of the planning detail. Picking the right topic or theme makes a difference, too. It must be something unique that guests see as something to experience, not just have a passing interest. We want people to say ‘they’re doing what!?!? I gotta go see this!’ The events we do are certainly not all hits, but we’ll always keep trying,” said Smith.
Onward to 2024
Finishing out a successful 2023, where LUKI saw their first medal at the Best of Craft Beer Awards and brewed an exceptional array of beers (including the amazing Stretch Your Quads), Smith and his team are already planning out their next potential breakout events.
“We’re going to do a Kentucky Derby at LUKI this year. Think tricycles, horse head masks, betting for fun and Mint Julep Sours. And goofy hats.”
Stop by LUKI’s website and take a peek at their events calendar, and stop in to see for yourself the unique and events and comfy small-brewery vibe that the team’s created over the past several years.