Brewers Guild and Craft Beer Colorado Are One Again
- November 09, 2016 -
Colorado Brewers Guild and the Craft Beer Colorado group will merge after a vote of its respective members last week. Five months ago, 14 frustrated CBG members split to form Craft Beer Colorado, with a mission to be more proactive than they felt CBG had been. (See our June 2016 stories below.) The two groups were not drinking together very much.
But it's mostly behind them all now. A good thing, 'cuz Colorado and Colorado beer drinkers are better served by one unified trade group. A statement from the CBG says it well:
Brewery members of the Colorado Brewers Guild and Craft Beer Colorado have agreed to join forces and merge into one organization to represent independent Colorado craft brewers. Last week both organizations' members voted to work together. The organization will do business as the Colorado Brewers Guild and the new board will be made up of representatives from the previous boards of both organizations.
"Advocacy and marketing just got a lot stronger on behalf of Colorado craft brewers," said Brian O'Connell, Founder of Renegade Brewing Company and board member. "There is no question that we are stronger as one."
Current staff will remain intact through the transition. "I'm looking forward to a very dynamic 2017 for the CBG," said Steve Kurowski, Operations Director of the guild, "the momentum is already starting to build." The search for an Executive Director will begin soon.
One of the Guild's leading priorities is to organize for the 2017 legislative session. "We have a lot of work to do to protect Colorado's independent craft brewers in a rapidly changing regulatory and legislative environment," said Chris Wright, Founder of Pikes Peak Brewing and board member. "We need to ensure all breweries in Colorado are fairly and effectively represented."
Blue Skies Winery Changes Name
- November 04, 2016 -
After three years of operations, you'd think your business' name would be standing up to the test of time. Not so for owners Kate and Pat Akin of (formerly) Blue Skies Winery in Fort Collins. According to their website, "In November of 2016 we changed our name from Blue Skies Winery to Lost Prairie Winery following a copyright issue, but we're still making the same excellent wine and employing friendly and knowledgeable people to give you the same amazing experience!"
Name challenges and copyright issues (if they occur) usually crop up right away with a new business. And they aren't that unusual in craft circle. But after three years, it was a bit of a surprise, and as usual the cost to fight was less than the cost to switch.
So that's why you'll find Lost Prairie Winery located where Blue Skies Winery used to be. They've got a new website, (http://www.lostprairiewinery.com/) and new wines you'll want to try when you visit them in Fort Collins. They handcraft their wines on premise and offer daily wine tastings, wine by the glass, bottle and case.
Sterling Gets New Brewery In December
- October 27, 2016 -
Sterling natives Dylan and Kimberly Harford have their sights set on a December opening for their downtown Parts and Labor Brewery. Jonathan Shikes, as always, dependably and beautifully reports in Westword that it's about time for a brewery or three on the Eastern Plains of Colorado.
"The 6,000-square-foot building itself is a renovated 1925 Cadillac and Pontiac dealership once called Bill's Motor Co. That fact, along with Harford's occupation as an auto mechanic, gave the brewery its auto-themed name."
Parts and Labor brings a welcome change - local beer - to Sterling, an historic Colorado city along the Platte River in northeast Colorado that most people have never visited. Dylan and Kimberly plan to use local wheat to make some of their beers, and perhaps use these lighter brews as training wheels to help ease local taste buds into dubbels and vanilla coconut porters they are planning as well.
Congratulations Dylan and Kimberly! Once you're open, Sterling will be the perfect place for a car breakdown...
Gunbarrel Brewing Leases New Digs, Opening 2017
- October 19, 2016 -
From their release today: "The founders of Gunbarrel Brewing Company, Jamie Fox and his wife Marie announce they have signed a lease on an apx. 20,000 square foot facility at 7088 Winchester Circle in the Gunbarrel area of Boulder for their self-funded brewery.
"Gunbarrel Brewing Company will offer a wide variety of beer styles employing both traditional and innovative brewing techniques. "We craft innovative beers expressing an extensive range of flavors that are delicate, funky or bold, inspired by ancient and modern styles," explains Jamie Fox "Some of our beers will refresh you after an afternoon of hiking, while others enlighten your pallet with adventurous and unexpected flavors."
"They will install a 10-barrel brewhouse built by JV Northwest of Canby, Oregon, as well as a 1-barrel pilot system which will be used for experimentation, research, and development. The couple has acquired the bulk of their equipment over the course of the past three years while searching for the perfect location for the brewery. "We took our time to find a permanent location that would provide a really welcoming environment for our guests and coworkers, someplace they would truly enjoy spending time in," says Marie. The sizeable new facility will allow for future growth and plenty of space for implementation of their barrel and wild ale programs."
Congratulations Jamie and Marie! We'll look forward to reporting on progress.
Great American Beer Festival Breweries
- August 12, 2016 -
We hope you were one of the lucky ones to score a ticket or two to the Annual Great American Beer Festival Oct 6-8, 2016. It is the biggest and greatest festival around, growing every year.
They just released the breweries at the festival list. Take a look and start thinking about the awesome breweries you want to visit. The booth assignment is not yet available but you can start looking at who will be there.
Always a good thing to make a plan.
Goat Patch Brewing Co.
- August 10, 2016 -
The Lincoln Elementary School Project has landed their brewery. Goat Patch Brewing Company is going to take up the space in the auditorium. They plan to be open in Spring of 2017. There are currently other businesses running in the Lincoln Elementary School and they are filling up more spaces.
Focus on the Beer and the Colorado Springs Independant wrote up some great articles.
Great American Beer Festival Tickets
- August 02, 2016 -
Member's only tickets to the Great American Beer Fest this year, sold out in just under an hour! Are you ready to get your General Admission tickets tomorrow! Be ready, they go quick!
Here is the link to try and get yours tomorrow starting at 10am!
Whistle Pig Brewing Co - Honor Network / Honor Flag Community Event
- July 06, 2016 -
Whistle Pig Brewery (WPB) needs your support in paying respect to the Honor Flag. The United States Honor Flag is a symbol of honor, rich in history, which has inspired a renewed spirit of American patriotism. The Honor Flag has paid tribute to those who have answered the call of duty and gone before us, being forever remembered. And now it is coming to Colorado Springs on July 9, 2016, and will fly over Whistle Pig Brewing Company at our community event and flag pole dedication. This event will serve as a fundraiser hosted by Whistle Pig Brewing Company.
The Honor Network (United States Honor Flag), founded by Chris Heisler, is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that is dedicated to honoring and memorializing heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for their family, community, and nation as a whole. The Honor Flag is recognized as national monument that has traveled seven million miles and has been flown on NASA's 2011 final Space Shuttle Mission, over Ground Zero, State Capitals, the Pentagon, Presidential Libraries, State and National Memorials, and funeral tributes for the heroes who lost their lives in service.
Festivities kick off at 11:00 AM with a private VIP party for Whistle Pig Trailblazers, area dignitaries, community friends, Chris, Major, and the Honor Flag herself. At noon they will have brief introductions of Chris, special invitees, the Honor Flag, and Major, followed by the raising of the Honor Flag and the Whistle Pig flagpole dedication. Programs offered to each attendee will detail the day's events. As a special bonus, Major will receive a very special gift from supporters from Grand Junction Colorado and Wichita, Kansas.
Mark your calendars and show your support on Saturday July 9, 2016
Whistle Pig Brewing Company
1840 Dominion Way, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80918
To see a list of the events for the day, go to their website
Big Changes @ Brewers Guild - Part 2
- June 12, 2016 -
(See previous story here for background)
Going back to at least the time of this year's Craft Brewers Conference in April, vocal dissent has surfaced within the Colorado Brewer's Guild. According to one attendee of the Philly conference, who wished to remain unnamed so as to not piss off others, there were heated meetings amongst the Colorado contingent about the direction CBG was headed, and specifically about its leadership.
How CBG was participating (or not) in the battle against various ballot initiatives that threatened to alter the craft beer retail marketplace was of particular concern, and differing camps had different opinions. The Guild board decided to put executive director John Carlson's position up for review, make it a full-time instead of part-time job, and would interview new potential directors - including Carlson - as one step in changing the focus and direction of CBG.
Carlson, who has been executive director of the Guild since forever, and other CBG members were actively involved in the grocery store licensing issues, and the general consensus was that keeping laws the same and keeping beer and wine out of grocery stores was the best plan to maintain Colorado's place as The State of Craft Beer.
But not all CBG members agreed - while some would be left off grocery store shelves, some saw obviously great potential in selling product to grocers. When SB 16-197 came along at the very end of the legislative calendar in late April, there were different ideas as to handling the complicated legislative give-and-take. This was not unexpected, as the Guild is made up of a very diverse group of members. We're talking around 220+ brewing operations, with 220+ egos, 220+ points of view and 220+ opinions.
What's amazing is that CBG has lasted for 20 years as a viable, valuable part of Colorado's craft beer scene, and that it has grown into one of the most active brewing trade organizations in the US. Before last Friday's letter, the Guild's future seemed to be looking up. Carlson had been selected amongst all other candidates to be the new full-time director, had quit his day job and was looking forward to doing more good work for the Colorado Brewers Guild.
"This has been draining. I'm disappointed to say the least" said Carlson by phone about the decision of some members to leave CBG and form a new group. As to the desires of those who are forming the new Colorado Craft Beer group, Carlson said "We've been really blessed for 20 years, and there've been different points of view from different brewers. I wish we could have scratched everybody's itch, but it's a business decision, and now a new direction for the Guild".
Carlson is in a bit of limbo, as he has not officially started work as the old Guild's new executive director, and this defection of 14 major Guild members to form a new rival group may drastically alter the future trajectory of CBG and with it the Colorado beer scene. With over 360 brewing operations open for business in Colorado (not all are CBG members) and another 65+ in planning, there's probably room for more than one trade group that can represent the diverse needs of Colorado-based brewers.
There are other brewer's groups in the works, too, including the marketing-focused members of the Southern Colorado Brewers Alliance. We just hope that they can all figure out a way to work together, and recognize that they are successful because of you, dear readers, the craft beer drinkers who buy their products and spread the good word. We'll keep you posted on the progress of the new Colorado Craft Beer organization, and will continue to support CBG as it promotes craft brewing in The State of Craft Beer.
For all our sakes: support your local craft producer, and support your favorite retail liquor store. And if you see John Carlson, buy him beer. He could use it.
(Jonathan Shikes has a great article about this in Westword.)
CBG Director's Letter To Remaining Members
- June 12, 2016 -
Colorado Brewers Guild Letter In Response to 14 Members Announcing Departure From CBG
June 11, 2016
Dear Brewery Members,
We are disappointed some of our members have elected to establish another organization as an alternate voice for the Colorado brewer. With the explosive growth of craft beer and the current legislative and regulatory issues before us, now is not the time to diminish our efforts but to strengthen them. Doing otherwise will result in less than optimal results. Multiple trade associations for Colorado craft beer will only confuse legislators and regulators, especially if they have different or competing asks. There is strength in numbers and we have the numbers. A strengthened Guild is the best way to remain an effective force in the industry.
Success - we have had many successes and are building momentum including more transparency, accountability, member out-reach, and additional communication. We have a demonstrated track record of success on legislative and regulatory matters including spent brewers grains, tasting room licensure, state health department inspections, strong federal delegation support, state tourism grants, enhanced marketing efforts, attractive merchandise, and beer education. In addition, we provide a quick reaction force for specific member needs based on the situation at hand.
New Changes - we recently announced the selection of a full-time executive director and the implementation of a schedule of additional Guild meetings throughout the year. Staff is beginning work to make these things happen. We are evolving based on the needs and desires of the greater membership.
Guild Election - the upcoming Guild election will provide Guild members an opportunity to refresh the Board. Please vote. Working with staff, the newly elected Board will revise our strategic plan. Once that plan has buy-in from the membership it will be executed by the Director and staff. Since our membership is wide and varied some compromise may be required. We should be mindful that a vocal minority should not chart the direction of the entire organization. The Articles and By-laws can be changed regarding membership qualifications, but it requires the membership to vote. As the industry changes, we have looked to other organizations as a reference point and have before our members a question on the ballot to update our Articles and By-Laws to reflect their collective interests. Participation in the electoral process is the key to success. We have a field of ten excellent people to fill four open positions. The Director serves at the pleasure of the Board and always has. If the Board feels a change in direction is desired the Director defers to the Board.
Inclusive - the Guild has always strived to be inclusive, and we support all efforts to better support all of our brewery members. As we work with policymakers and the Liquor Enforcement Division to implement the latest legislative compromise, we look forward to learning about what other legislative agendas might be put forth, and will work together to better Colorado, the state of craft beer.
Advocacy - as our collective resources and member interest in policy and regulatory matters have increased, we have evolved. This is a continuous process and is a collective effort of engagement with multiple views culminating in the best direction for the organization as a whole.
Participation - we strive to be transparent and always value member interest in industry and Guild matters. Communicating complex matters to a wide audience is always a challenge but we know it is paramount to our mission. Every member must feel they have the opportunity to be heard and contribute regardless of their brewery size or license type. To effectively engage, we encourage our members to participate in Guild meetings, activities, committees, and the Board.
We believe in a positive, open, and participatory organization the serves the collective good of our membership. We have worked hard to promote these principles and will continue to do so. We value the input of others and want to move forward together for Colorado, the state of craft beer.
Colorado Brewers Guild
(thanks to Tristan @ porchdrinking.com for posting this, too)
14 Brewers Exit Colorado Brewers Guild
- June 11, 2016 -
14 Colorado brewers announced that they were pulling out of the 20-year-old Colorado Brewers Guild trade and industry group. In an open letter to Colorado Brewers Guild Board of Directors, members big and small, old and new said they were leaving the CBG to form a new trade organization: Colorado Craft Beer.
While this doesn't mean nearly as much to us drinkers as our new liquor laws will, Colorado Brewers Guild members apparently are being asked to pick sides in a not-nice brew ha ha that's been fermenting for awhile. We'll have much more to report, but first, read all about it:
June 10th 2016
An Open Letter to the Colorado Brewers Guild Board of Directors
Dear Colorado Brewers Guild Board of Directors:
We are founders of and longtime advocates for both our industry and the Colorado Brewers Guild. We have spent countless hours, dollars, and resources supporting and advancing the Guild. We, the undersigned brewers, have formed Craft Beer Colorado a new, effective, and transparent state trade organization to advance the agenda of Colorado's independent craft brewers. Our new organization has been filed with the Colorado Secretary of State, we have secured funding from organizing committee members, are working with Weist Capitol, and are committed to raising additional funds as needed.
There are three core issues that lead us to this action:
1. We need legislative and regulatory leadership and vision. Historically the CBG has reacted to changes; we need a proactive agenda.
2. There has been, for many years in the CBG, a culture of information control and director behavior that is the opposite of transparent. This is not healthy for our trade association and we are no longer willing to condone this management style.
3. With the changing landscape of craft where multinational brewers are buying craft brewers and blurring the lines, our by-laws and articles of incorporation don't reflect what we believe to be membership's wishes.
We believe the CBG is broken enough that it isn't fixable. We are building a dynamic, proactive, visionary, transparent and welcoming trade association for Colorado's craft brewers and we invite you to join us.
The Guild has relied upon individual brewery members and the lobbying team for representation at the Capitol and with the Liquor Enforcement Division. We believe a healthy organization relies on its staff in collaboration with the board and members of committees to take the slings and arrows inherent in these negotiations and conversations . In addition to this, the resignation of the Guild's long time partners and lobbyists at Weist Capitol signals the end of an effective relationship with the current organization and staff .The culture of the Colorado Brewers Guild has ingrained these unhealthy patterns of behavior .
Another troubling piece of the Colorado Brewers Guild's culture is favoring single point control of all communication, a lack of transparency from staff, and unwillingness to confront difficult issues. Transparency and openness should be the hallmarks of a trade organization - they are the defining characteristics of the community of brewers at its best. Craft Beer Colorado intends to nurture these qualities among our members, leadership and staff.
We are now faced with a situation where the world's largest brewer is a voting member of the Colorado Brewers Guild. Launching Craft beer Colorado by and for Colorado's independent craft brewers allows us to establish membership criteria that align with our needs.
This letter is an invitation to independent craft brewers across the state : large and small, new and seasoned who share our desire to build a forthright, positive and decisive state trade organization. We will hold an organizational meeting in July. Please join us in this new effort to work for the common good.
Tommy Bibliowicz and Dustin Ramey, 4 Noses Brewing Company
Mike Bristol, Bristol Brewing Company
Dave Cole, Epic Brewing Company
Kevin Daly, Mountain Sun Brewing Company
Brian Dunn, Great Divide Brewing Company
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse
Kim Jordan, New Belgium Brewing Company
Brad Lincoln, Funkwerks Brewing Company
Nick Nunns, Trve Brewing Company
Brian O'Connell, Renegade Brewing Company
Wynne Odell and Doug Odell, Odell Brewing Company
Oskar Blues Brewing LLC
Ted Risk and Ryan Wibby, Wibby Brewing Company
Eric Wallace, Left Hand Brewing Company
Much more to come...
First Direct Evidence of a Beer-brewing Operation
- May 26, 2016 -
A Festival You Don't Want to Miss!
- May 12, 2016 -
9th Annual Rails & Ales Brewfest
This is one exciting beer festival. The only way to get there is by train! The only way to get back is by train.
Details from their Facebook Page,
Rails & Ales combines some of their favorite things: classic rail equipment, rustic Rocky Mountain setting, live music, smoking hot BBQ and handcrafted brews from the region's best.
There's just something so special about hopping on a train with friends to the wide open space they call Fir Station-their "little piece of Heaven" custom-built for the railroad meant to highlight how nature can so perfectly complement music.
The Rails & Ales Brewfest brings together brewers and their devoted fans, a hardy group that understands the simple truth of this event-you only get here by rail and it doesn't get any better than this.
Rio Grande Scenic Railroad's most popular event sells out earlier each year. Don't miss your chance to experience Colorado's most unique brew fest.
Don't wait to buy tickets, this event sells out fast and the 9th annual Rails & Ales promises to be the best yet.
*Photo from their Facebook Page
Craft Breweries are Changing Ownership
- May 05, 2016 -
Craft breweries close and far are changing ownership. Right here in Colorado, Pug Ryan's old owners found the perfect couple to carry on their vision. This is a great article on the transition
Outside of Colorado, Anheuser-Busch is making some more moves. They recently swooped in and purchased Wicked Weed Brewing. Brewbound wrote a great. article
HEINEKEN acquired the remaining stake in Lagunitas Brewing Company this week too. Global Wire News wrote an article
So many changes happening...
Professional Brewers, Home Brewers, Beer Lovers & friends of all the above
- April 20, 2016 -
Join Anke and Mitch from Schnitzel Fritz Restaurant and Deli located in Colorado Springs for an opportunity of a lifetime. They are putting together a trip through the Beer Country of Bavaria. Celebrate 500 years German Purity Law (Reinheitsgebot).
~Visit large breweries, craft breweries, microbreweries & home brewers.
Compare old philosophies with the new trend of mirco or craft breweries.
~Exchange ideas, be involved, ask real questions, and go behind the scenes.
~Learn about the German Purity Law - it's only 500 years old!
~Take guided city tours or venture on your own.
~Join two short river cruises.
~Make new and lasting contacts.
~Hike in the foothills of the Alps, enjoy amazing views
~All this with regional food and of course a variety of fantastic BEER!
Check out more detail and sign up today
Copper Kettle Brewing Co Turns 5!
- April 19, 2016 -
5 Year Anniversary Celebration!!
Join Copper Kettle Brewing Co for a huge five day celebration for their five year anniversary! They will be releasing 12 beers over the five days and have lots of music, food, beer, and fun!
Thank you for being a part of the family for this journey! Copper Kettle is excited for the next five!!
See their website for a list of events during their 5 day celebration
The Brew Hut Closed March 14 - 16 for Construction
- March 10, 2016 -
From The Brew Hut Newsletter,
The Brew Hut is CLOSED for construction Monday, March 14 through Wednesday, March 16, so stock up on supplies in advance this weekend!
They are expanding into the space next door, adding a grain room, a mill room, and a new classroom with a full kitchen for onsite brewing! Construction will be complete in April. Sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.
Grand Lake Brewing Co Opens and Reopens locations!
- February 26, 2016 -
There are now 2 places that you can try out Grand Lake Brewing Company's delicious brews.
Grand Lake's Yukon Street Tavern is back open in Arvada at 5610 Yukon Street. They have starters, sandwiches, calzones and pizzas to munch on. They also have their delicious beers including their Vienna Lager and Wooly Booger Nut Brown Ale on tap.
Grand Lake's 16th Street Tavern is located in Greeley at 915 16th Street. Stop in and try their Frito Pie, Focaccia Pizza or grab a sandwich. Wash it down with a Rocky Mountain Red Ale or Dopplebock Lager.
Grand Lake Brewing is all family owned. Stop in and say hi to the family at either location!
Pikes Peak Library District Offers Homebrewing Class
- February 26, 2016 -
~Written by Stephanie Earls from The Gazette,
Oh, the things you can learn at the library: Horticulture, history, homebrewing...
To help Colorado Springs-area beer fans and wannabe brewers better understand the components, tastes and processes that go into making their favorite craft beverage, the Pikes Peak Library District will offer a class on home brewing and beer tasting, led by a professional home brewing teacher, Saturday at Library 21C.
Students will be introduced to the basic steps and equipment needed to brew at home and can familiarize themselves with the core ingredients - hops, grains, yeasts - that combine to give beer its unique flavors and characteristics. Because the proof's in the pudding, especially with suds, students then can sample a brew recently made using the same procedures and components about which they've just learned.
Basic Beer Brewing and Tasting is 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Ent Conference Center at the library, 1175 Chapel Hills Drive. Participants must be 21 and pre-register, by Friday, at ppld.org. Info: 884-9712.
Suds in the City
- February 12, 2016 -
5280, The Denver Magazine, just released a great article on some great craft beer insights, Suds in the City. The article has 10 New Denver Breweries You Need to Visit, Craft Trends, Beer-Cations and much much more.
Suds in the City is a must read article
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