Driver or Not, Beer Truck Keeps On Truckin'
- October 31, 2016 -
When they're not out on one of their many public appearances, The Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales West Coast Team calls Fort Collins' A-B brewery home. You can nuzzle right up and get a selfie with one, and imagine how delivery wagons, pulled by the ancestors of these grand animals, brought beer to American drinkers a hundred years ago. Mmmmm, hooorsess, beeeerrrr ...
While you're there, keep your eye out for Bud's latest transportation method: Otto, an autonomous truck developed by Uber. A-B recently completed the world's first driverless shipment of beer here in Colorado: trucked out of their brewery in Fort Collins and delivered to distributor's docks in Colorado Springs. A stand-by driver rode along in the cab of the specially-equipped, totally-tricked truck, just in case, but the truck drove itself for almost all of the trip. Andrew J. Hawkins over at The Verge wrote a nice story that's worth a read. He writes that a Colorado State Patrol vehicle followed the truck, and that "the state patrolman who followed the truck said it was "super nice" to see a truck stay safely in its lane for most of the trip."
Uber has a video that's worth a look, too, and the technology behind this is astonishing. No doubt we'll see a lot more driverless vehicles on highways across Colorado and the US. And quite a few less truck drivers, too. A-B says it's trucks make over 1.2 million trips each year, and Otto is the wave of the future for beer delivery. If you see any Otto's out and about in Colorado, please pop off a shot and send your photos to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can keep everybody posted on Otto's progress.
Beer Travel Gets Mainstream Boost
- October 20, 2016 -
You know it, 'cuz you do it. We know it, 'cuz we've helped show beer lovers how to find great beer for almost ten years with our great Maps and Guidebooks. Beer Tourism is Big. And now visitors to Travelocity's website can see for themselves, too: which cities are the best for beer tourism.
While you might think "GABF" when we mention "BA", the Brewers Association does a lot of different things to promote beer and beer making. One recent thing they did: commission a Nielsen Omnibus panel in June 2016 that asked, "How many, if any, craft breweries have you visited at their site in the past 12 months while traveling?"
The answer: on average 2.1 breweries. Our guess is that if you're reading this, you probably visited 2.1 breweries in your travels in the past 7 DAYS, but that's because you're smarter than the average Joe or Jane, and use our interactive map to find the latest, greatest places.
Web travel purveyors Travelocity took note, and announced this week their new partnership with the BA in creating a "Beer Tourism Index" of the best large and small metro areas for beercations. According to them:
Top Five Large Metro Areas for Beer Tourism:
1. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA
2. Denver-Aurora, CO
3. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
4. Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME
5. Colorado Springs, CO
Top Five Small Metro Areas for Beer Tourism:
1. Bend, OR
2. Boulder, CO
3. Fort Collins-Loveland, CO
4. Corvallis, OR
5. Missoula, MT
They also produced a wacky "6 Pack o' Facts" graphic that puts travel-ish perspectives on beer production numbers, like: "Enough Craft Beer was produced in 2015 to refill the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas every day for a month".
Of course, it's no surprise that Colorado cities are well represented. No doubt Grand Rapids, Austin, Asheville, San Diego and other beer-soaked cities will find flaws with Travelocity's index. It was calculated "by examining the location of all breweries in the U.S., and looking at other factors important to a successful "beercation," including the availability of rideshare services, accessibility via air and the average cost of lodging."
So go on - pack your bags, and get out to visit 2.1 brewers (or more) on your next trip, and don't forget: Support Your Local Craft Producer!
Bruz Beers in the News
- August 26, 2016 -
If you have not been to Bruz Beers you will want to make it a point to stop in. All of their beers are Belgian style, including their IPA.
The Denver Post did a great story about brewery operations that are driving development and urban planning - like Bruz Beers that opened two months ago in the spanking-new Midtown neighborhood, at 67th and Pecos in NW Denver.
GABF Tickets Sold Out Fast - Again!
- August 03, 2016 -
If you've been going to the Great American Beer Festival for more than 10 years, you might remember when tickets were available at the door. Walk up, fork over 40 bucks, show your ID, and begin your quest for your next favorite beer.
Not anymore. Tickets for this year's GABF at the Denver Convention Center sold out in an hour today. Even with expanded space and 30% more available tickets (like last year's event), if you didn't get tickets early, you didn't get tickets. Sorry. Walk-up sales are indeed history.
And if you plan to buy after-sale tickets from someplace else, the Brewer's Association who runs the event has some advice (from their website):
"Unfortunately, the secondary market for popular tickets persists, despite many efforts to thwart it. From hot sporting events and headliner concerts to your favorite beer festival-sell-out events are subject to ticket brokers finding ways to buy and re-sell tickets. Some ticket brokers even make speculative sales before they have tickets in hand-sometimes well before tickets go on sale!"
If you want buy tickets, they are available, just not from ticketmaster - buyer beware, naturally. We'll keep you posted on the aftermarket market with future info. In the mean time, if you didn't get tickets don't sweat! There's at least one or two other events in Colorado around the time of GABF, and Denver Beer Fest has plenty to keep you busy outside the convention center.
Check back for more updates soon.
Homebrewers: El Paso County Fair Wants Your Beer
- July 07, 2016 -
Elizabeth Hartman passes along the information (see below) about the looming deadline for entering beers in the AHA/BJCP-sanctioned El Paso County Fair Beer Competition. If you've got something on the shelf ready for judging in one of the 15 Summer beer styles being judged, head over quick to:
- Rocky Mountain Brewery, Colorado Springs
- Old West Homebrew Supply, Colorado Springs
- Pikes Peak Brewing Co. , Monument
- Castle Rock Homebrew Supply, Castle Rock
- RahnerShine Homebrew Supply, Pueblo
- Fermentations, Colorado Springs
There's more info at the Brew Brothers of Pikes Peak website (organizers of the event). and the deadline for entry is Friday July 9. But no worries if you miss entering this contest - there are plenty more Colorado homebrew judgings, like the Colorado State Fair, GABF, Denver County Fair - and we'll follow up with more info on these in another story.
And about that El Paso County Homebrew Competition:
For the fifth year, the El Paso County Fair is partnering with the Brew Brothers of Pikes Peak, a Colorado Springs-based homebrew club, to organize and judge a homebrewed beer competition in mid-July as part of the fair's creative arts program.
This homebrew competition provides an opportunity for amateur brewers to show off and test their skills against each other. Each beer will be assessed by local, experienced beer judges, most of whom are certified through the internationally-recognized Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP).
The competition celebrates beer styles that are often enjoyed in the summer, such as American lager, German and Czech pilsners, Kolsch, cream ale, India pale ale, wheat beer, saison and fruit beers. Beers will be evaluated on elements such as aroma and flavor as well as overall drinkability and adherence to the 2015 BJCP guidelines for beer styles.
In addition to promoting the hobby of making beer at home, the Brew Brothers club emphasizes educational programs to help members become better brewers. As part of that programming, the club helps homebrewers to become BJCP-certified judges and organizes homebrew competitions like the El Paso County Fair competition and a multi-day competition at Peterson Air Force Base each February for beer, cider and mead.
Homebrewers who wish to enter the fair competition can register their beers online until July 9 (you don't have to be an El Paso County resident to participate). Entries are limited to one per beer style. Beers must also be delivered to a designated drop-off location by July 9. For details, visit the competition site at brewbrosco.com/competitions/el-paso-county-comp/.
Judging will take place on July 14 and is closed to the public. Winners will be announced during an awards ceremony on July 16, opening day of the fair, at 2 p.m. in Swink Hall on the fairgrounds. Each brewer will also receive copies of the judges' score sheets, which includes feedback on the beer.
The competition is recognized by the American Homebrewers Association and the Beer Judge Certification Program.
New Liquor Laws Coming Soon
- June 12, 2016 -
Governor John Hickenlooper beat the deadline at 7:38pm Friday to officially sign Senate Bill 16-197 and forever change the liquor laws in Colorado. You can read up on our past coverage here, and a Denver Post story lays it out nicely. The governor, a former brewer and partner in Wynkoop Brewing, acknowledged that the complicated bill was not perfect but far preferable to any legislative effort so far.
Hick's entire letter to the Senate after signing the bill is perhaps the best explanation yet of this complicated issue. No matter if you like the bill or not, his take is posted here for your further enlightenment.
Today, I signed Senate Bill 16-197, "Concerning the Retail Sale of Alcohol Bevemges, and, in Connection Titcrcwith, Restricting the Issuance of New Liquor-Licensed Drugstore and Retail Liquor Store Licenses Except Under Specified Circumstances; Allowing Liquor-Ltcensed Drugstore and Retail Liquor Store Licensees to Obtain Additional Licenses Under Limited Circumstances; Repealing the Limit on the Alcohol Content of Fermented Malt Beverages on January I , 2019; and Making an Appropriation" into law at 7:28 pm .
Since the 1933 repeal of the Volstead Act and the Eighteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibiting alcohol sales and consumption, Colorado law governing beer, wine, and distilled spirits sales has led to a thriving market of individually-owned retail liquor stores. In tum, this served as a catalyst for a vibrant, diverse, and flourishing industry of cmft distilleries , breweries, and wineries throughout our state. Although imperfect and unplanned, this system has unquestionably benefited Colorado.
The well-worn debate to allow expanded sales of distilled spirits, wine, and full-strength beer at grocery stores continues to challenge the competing economic values of convenience to customers, job creation, and promotion of locally-owned businesses . Unfortunately, compromise has been absent from this debate. Senate Bill 16-197 is an exception. This bill is a laudable effort by the sponsors at compromise between certain large grocery stores seeking to offer greater options for their customers, and independently-owned retail liquor stores set to endure heavy revenue losses should the laws they operate under change overnight. We agree that state law in this field is dated and haphazard . However, while imperfect and unplanned, the status quo has led to this industry's growth and success. Any change to existing liquor laws must be carefully measured so as to minimize harm to a vital network of local retail businesses, and, in tum, Colorado's craft distilleries, breweries, and wineries.
Over the past 30 days, we thoroughly evaluated SB 16-197, met with many stakeholder organizations, and spoke with a number of craft brewers and independent liquor store owners. While we believe the status quo is most preferable, it is unlikely to remain. Senate Bill 16-197 implements inevitable change in a measured and reasonable process. The bill gives independently-owned liquor stores until 2019 to prepare for any increased competition from grocery chains. Furthermore, it does not throw open the door to wine and distilled spirits competition without compensation to stores located within a certain distance of grocery stores. These are reasonable measures that allow phased-in competition and broader choices, while also providing guardrails to protect small businesses from losses that could result from a sudden regulatory change. While not perfect, SB 16-197 provides more options for customers and reasonable protections for small businesses.
On the matter of the multiple ballot initiatives pertaining to sales of wine, distilled spirits, and full-strength beer in grocery stores, I sign this law today with the understanding that most, and hopefully all, of these initiatives will be withdrawn, as discussed in the SB 16-197 compromise process. Passage of any ballot initiative allowing immediate wine and full-strength beer sales in grocery stores would irreparably hamt independent liquor stores and craft producers throughout Colorado. According to an analysis based on retail sales data from the Department of Revenue, Colorado retail liquor stores conduct roughly $750 million in beer sales annually. Should these ballot measures pass, simply stated, a significant percentage of that revenue will transfer from small independent liquor stores to large grocery stores. This would, in tum, severely harm Colorado's craft market as independent stores close and precious shelf space shrinks.
When independent liquor store owners went into business, they knowingly and willingly accepted Colorado's liquor laws, however dated they may be. While SB 16-197 changes Colorado's liquor laws significantly, I sign the bill today because I was persuaded by the broad coalition supporting this compromise. This compromise is far preferred over periodic legislative threats to enact more far-reaching and sudden change.
We trust that the coalition and sponsors have reached a measured compromise that allows Colorado's vibrant craft industry to continue to thrive. Accordingly, I signed SB 16-197 into law.
Thanks, Governor, you summed it up well.
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