Ten biggest Colorado craft beer stories in 2012
|Avery Brewing Facebook page|
|Avery will build its new brewery here.|
Colorado's larger craft breweries enjoyed a lot of success in 2012, and it showed as many of them announced, started or finished major expansion projects. That list included New Belgium, which will open a second major brewery in North Carolina; Oskar Blues, which opened a second, smaller facility in that state as well; Left Hand, which completed a multimillion-dollar expansion; Odell, which broke ground on a big addition; Avery, which bought land to build a huge new campus in Boulder; Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora and Upslope in Boulder, which are both adding second large breweries in their respective towns; Bristol and Trinity, both in Colorado Springs, which are expanding; and Breckenridge, which is hopefully building a large campus in the metro area.
2) Strange Brewing and other trademark battles
In September, as Denver's Strange Brewing was gearing up for the Great American Beer Festival, owners John Fletcher and Tim Myers got a letter from a homebrew shop in Massachusetts demanding that they change their name and threatening legal action if they did not. Myers responded to the missive from Strange Brew Beer & Wine Making Supplies by offering to team up with the business on something that would benefit both of them -- but he was rebuffed. The outcome of the dispute is still pending, but the issue of trademarks is only just heating up in the craft-brewing industry where brewery names, beer names and even brewing terms are being contested all over the country. And things are likely to get even uglier in 2013 as new breweries form (there are a least five breweries in planning in Colorado that have already had to chance their names) and existing breweries attempt to come up with new names. It would be great to see the Brewers Association step in on this issue and create some sort of mediation process, especially since the craft beer industry is often so congenial, but the organization has so far been mum on what could turn into a divisive and angry problem.
1) The rise of the neighborhood/nanobrewery
Small neighborhood or nanobreweries opened at a rapid rate in 2012, giving craft-beer lovers new places to hang out. Although some beer-industry experts believe that there may be too many breweries in Colorado now, it's hard to argue that small places -- like neighborhood bars -- can't succeed. In Denver alone, at least six small breweries opened their doors -- some of them with tiny brewing systems and occasional hours -- while Boulder acquired at least three new ones of its own. Denver and Boulder suburbs like Wheat Ridge, Broomfield, Frederick and Niwot -- among many others -- also welcomed local places with a community feel. And 2013 may surpass 2012 in terms of numbers, as small (and smaller) businesses respond to demand all over the metro area. Your neighborhood never tasted so good.
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