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After a student vote to purchase the old Tivoli Brewery buildings, a two-year renovation culminated in the Tivoli Student Union, which was ultimately voted No. 9 on the 2013 Best College Reviews list of the top 25 student unions in the country.
The Tivoli’s journey from 1870s brewery to award-winning student union began with almost a century of brewing success. The facility survived Prohibition by producing Dash cereal beer, but eventually ended in ruin after a workers’ strike in 1966.
The dilapidated buildings were then purchased by the Denver Urban Renewal Authority, which transferred ownership to the Auraria Higher Education Center for a retail center. In 1973 the Tivoli was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, guaranteeing the restoration and protection of the buildings and major brewing equipment.
When renovation became too costly, however, the state contracted private developers to restore the facilities for commercial use. The buildings were brought together under a three-story atrium.
In 1991, MSU Denver students, along with those from the University of Colorado at Denver and Community College of Denver, voted to buy back and re-develop the old brewery to use for educational purposes.
Today, the Tivoli houses everything from Student Life and government offices to restaurants and shops to The Metropolitan student newspaper. The Tivoli Turnhalle, one of the largest venues on campus, is used for guest speakers, conferences and performances, and is located on the building’s west side.
The Tivoli will come full circle this year when a brew pub and medium-scale brewery move back into the building. The University has been working in partnership with Tivoli Brewing and industry leaders to develop a comprehensive curriculum that emphasizes hands-on learning to educate the next generation of craft brewers.