Is Colorado the center of the "crafty" beer universe?

Categories: Beer Man

BlueMoonLabel.jpg
Colorado -- home to the Great American Beer Festival, the Brewers Association and 161 breweries -- is the center of the universe when it comes to craft beer.

But is it also the center of the "crafty" beer universe?

On Thursday, the Brewers Association, which represents small brewers nationwide, fired an oddly-timed shot over the bows of MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch, blasting them for selling "crafty" beers without labeling them as their products.

"When someone is drinking a Blue Moon Belgian Wheat Beer, they often believe that it's from a craft brewer, since there is no clear indication that it's made by SABMiller," the Brewers Association statement read. "The same goes for Shock Top, a brand that is 100 percent owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev."

See also:
- Chicago's Goose Island will brew some of its signature 312 beer in Colorado's 970
- Blue Moon cooks up chocolate bacon porter and two more beers at the Sandlot
- Five things you didn't know about the Sandlot brewery at Coors Field

Shock Top.jpg
And both were born right here in Colorado, which could also be the home of the next big "crafty" brand, Goose Island, a formerly independent craft brewer that was purchased last year by AB, which plans to brew several of the company's products in Fort Collins.

Blue Moon was created inside Denver's Coors Field in 1995 at the Sandlot Brewery, now called Blue Moon Brewing @ the Sandlot, as Bellyslide Belgian White. At the time, there were only about 850 craft brewers in the country, as compared to 1,260 today. The seventeen-year-old brand has since gone national and has several variations.

Shock Top, which is also a Belgian White or wit, was first made at Anheuser-Busch's massive Fort Collins brewery under the name Spring Heat Spiced Wheat. This brand also has numerous variations. AB described it as the "third in a series of successful seasonal draughts, following Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale and Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale."

And now, Goose Island, which the Brewers Association no longer considers a craft brewery because of its ownership change, has filed applications with the federal government to brew at least four of its major brands in Fort Collins.

The company has indicated that it will take these brands nationwide -- probably without the AB name on the labels either.

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The Brewers Association statement came an odd time since Blue Moon has been around for seventeen years and Shock Top for six -- and neither one has ever put the parent company's label on the bottle.

But BA spokeswoman Julia Herz says it was in response to recent media coverage about megabreweries have been experimenting with craft beer.

"The association has never really issued a press statement like this," she says. "We do have positions...But this is a new direction on this one topic, but it is a topic that has been building internally...at the association and amongst our members. They are saying that the lines have been blurred over time and they are getting blurrier."

Read the association's full statement on the next page.

Location Info

Brewed Awakening

4100 E. Mississippi Ave., Denver, CO

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Casabona's

1515 Madison St., Denver, CO

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16 comments
Mark McDonnell
Mark McDonnell

Not if u are using that god awful mass produced Blue Moon as your example. Of all the amazing beers out there from Colorado and that was what was chosen. For that reason and that reason alone I have to say no!

Matt Levan
Matt Levan

It doesn't matter if 5 people work there and produce less than 2,000 barrels a year. If I pay for it here in America and the money ends up in a bank account in Belgium or Canada, then there's nothing craft about that.

Erik Zapiler
Erik Zapiler

I'm going to risk drawing a lot of fire here and say that it's really unfair to lump AC Golden's small batch sour brews and limited edition beers such as Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout in with Shocktop and Blue Moon. In terms of quality, these beers are world class, regardless of who's paying the light bill.

Tim Tindle
Tim Tindle

They should have to disclose the origin!

Tim Tindle
Tim Tindle

WHAT THE SHIT! Blue moon, really, really. How could you ask this question with the label off Coors, fascist piss up there in the box. Blue moon is not craft beer.

Darry
Darry

Probably it is.  But CO is also the center of the  CRAFT beer universe as well.

And no kvetching from people about Oregon will change that.

Terin Blake
Terin Blake

If you were to read the article, Kevin, it's about whether macro breweries like Coors should have to label the companies they've invested in, like Blue Moon, as a Coors product. Hence, the term "craft-y".

M Kathleen's Art
M Kathleen's Art

I tried a beer by Bristrol Brewery here in the Springs last night...I was pretty impressed with the MASS TRANSIT ALE....2 thumbs up!

Christopher David
Christopher David

With so many real craft brewers in the state, it makes sense that the mega-breweries would work extra hard to undercut them.

Kevin Brauer
Kevin Brauer

But Blue Moon is mass produced by Coors. Use a real Colorado craft beer photo for this story.

Ben Deco
Ben Deco

Fuck beer. But our growers have some top notch genetics.

milleralexjames
milleralexjames

I suppose the information about Craft vs. "crafty" is worth the Association pointing out, but yes it does seem to be a little unnecessary... unless someone knows something I don't and they felt the need to toss out the presser (which is obviously a possibility).

Will_
Will_

@milleralexjames You'd be amazed by how many people don't know that Shock Top or Blue Moon are brewed by AB/InBev or SAB/MillerCoors. They think that there are actual BM and ST breweries.

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