A handful of breweries? CNN's beer-city list misses the mark on Denver

Categories: Beer Man

ColoradoBeer.jpg
Brandon Marshall
If you like beer and have an Internet connection, you've probably seen CNN's list of the 8 Best Beer Towns in the USA that went up Monday.

While the list was better than most recent beer-city lists produced by national magazines and websites, it certainly had its share of problems. But for my purposes, let's focus on Denver, ranked fifth on the list. That spot is probably low, but it's acceptable in the grand scheme of things. The bigger problems had to do with CNN's description of our town.

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For starters, the article reads: "Neighborhoods like Platte Street and the Art District on Santa Fe are peppered with breweries."

Well, Platte Street isn't a neighborhood. It's a street, and it only has one brewery, Denver Beer Co. The Art District on Santa Fe is, in fact, a neighborhood, but it certainly isn't "peppered" with breweries. There are two: Renegade and Breckenridge.

Then it continues: "Elsewhere you'll find Avery, Renegade, New Belgium, Strange Brewing, Dry Dock and others, including Bull & Bush..."

Elsewhere? Yes, very elsewhere. Avery is in Boulder, Dry Dock is in Aurora and New Belgium is in Fort Collins (hey, CNN, Fort Collins is seventy miles away from Denver!). Why mix them in with three Denver breweries, seemingly picked at random, when there are so many other Denver breweries to name?

Perhaps because the author had no clue as to which breweries are actually in the city or how many of them there are -- a point driven home by the most egregious descriptor in the story, which reads, "...and while there are only a handful in Denver proper, there are loads of notable breweries outside town and in nearby Boulder."

So which is it? Are we peppered with breweries or are there just a handful?

In truth, "Denver proper" has between 21 and 24 breweries (depending on how you count) and is expecting ten more by the end of 2013. That is way more than a handful.

But if you add in the "loads of notable breweries outside of town and in nearby Boulder" that CNN refers to, then you begin to lose count. Boulder alone has nearly twenty breweries, while there are at least two dozen more "outside of town," depending on which parts of "outside of town" the author of the CNN list is talking about.

Beyond that, the range of what these breweries are doing -- whether it's specializing in niche beers, narrowly defined styles, boundary-pushing brews, a neighborhood fan base, unusual technique, equipment or personnel -- is stunning.

So please come back to Denver to do some more research, CNN. And this time, you should stay a while. You're going to need the time to get a real feel for our beer culture.


Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan

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27 comments
Legen Dairy
Legen Dairy

Obviously they googled breweries in Denver around 1996. Lol

Jeff Bordner
Jeff Bordner

Frankly I'm surprised people still watch CNN or go to their website. CNN along with Fox News are so full of bullshit it's coming out of their ears.

Chase Squires
Chase Squires

Isn't CNN the one that had Nancy Grace and some anchor on a split screen, talking on a satellite uplink when they were really in the same parking lot, 30 feet apart?

Josh Moore
Josh Moore

So.... They aren't liberally biased because that never happens, but you complain when they screw up a beer review? That's how the media reports on everything. False and misleading.

yakisaki
yakisaki

Spot on! I read this article on CNN and you called them out on everything. Good job!

Ian Errl
Ian Errl

It's as if they took a page from Westword.

Jordan Nicole Montoya
Jordan Nicole Montoya

Yeah, I was trying to find some articles regarding cities as opposed to states but had a hard time finding anything so I had to go by that. But yes, the most recent I found was from 2011 and things can definitely change a lot y in two years!

Schittphaiç Magü
Schittphaiç Magü

You do realize this is CNN we're talking about here? Of the numerous instances where they've "missed the mark," "dropped the ball," or (insert other clichéd metaphor here), this isn't anywhere near amongst the most egregious of errors.

jmpmk2
jmpmk2

I have a pretty comprehensive list put together, and Colorado has just under 120 craft breweries that pour beer on-site -- so, not even counting breweries that only distribute.  And, as this article correctly points out, there are about a dozen more prepared to open up in the Denver Metro Area this year alone.  

Yes, the article in reference is really quite a joke, as I'm not sure there is a city or state that really compares in craft brewery volume.

Pam Stiffler
Pam Stiffler

Could have sworn Denver was #1, like a week or 2 ago. I'm sure I heard it from more than one media source...

GetDepantsed
GetDepantsed

Ha, I posted notes on Dry Dock, Avery and New Belgium not being in Denver, along with the more accurate count of Denver breweries and apparently my comment was deleted.  Giggle.

Bagwhan
Bagwhan

How is Seattle not on this list?

Sheri Paul
Sheri Paul

Great recap of the beer scene Westword - get those CNN guys to get it right!

tzadik42
tzadik42

Shoddy reporting from CNN?  I'm shocked!  Shocked I tell you!

Courtney Donaldson
Courtney Donaldson

Touche... However, I do believe that was 2010 & 11 and representative of the whole state of VT... Although Burlington VT did have the most, when broken down by population... However, recent studies have shown differently for Denver and surrounding cities... There are many articles from 2012 with interesting breakdowns based upon number of breweries by city, state and region. THE WW article was about Denver, not CO as a whole.... and growing! There are 2-3 going up in my neighborhood around the Santa Fe Arts district.

Guest
Guest

It's not a bad list. I would dispute San Francisco at #2. It's a great city, and a great drinking city. May belong on the list, but not ahead of San Diego, Denver, or even Philly.

The errors Beer Man points out are pretty benign though. True, notable mistakes to a dyed in the wool local, but I have even seen Westword include Boulder in "Best of Denver" type lists.

milleralexjames
milleralexjames

Judging by the "research" used in that article, CNN would be a great place for Westword's Jenn Wohletz to work at next.

peteryan
peteryan

Westword never seems to understand that to the rest of the country "Denver" encompasses all surrounding areas. Few people outside of Colorado are familiar with the small towns.

Courtney Donaldson
Courtney Donaldson

Another perfect example of journalists not doing their homework and relying on the "word of mouth" of others who obviously have NO CLUE either! Funny how we're known to have more micro-breweries per capita than any other place in the country????

awesomehotdogs
awesomehotdogs

Are we at all surprised? It's a page-view post. From CNN. Sadly, it'll be a post that many carry around as validation for years. 

Cap_Hill_Cowboy
Cap_Hill_Cowboy

Watching the Boston search on CNN was like watching monkey's throwing their feces at a video camera, so I'm guessing their research team can barely put sentences together. Not surprised.

milleralexjames
milleralexjames

@peteryan "Few people outside of Colorado are familiar with the small towns."

So looking at Google Maps to realize that Boulder and Fort Collins are NOT in Denver is out of the question, I guess?

awesomehotdogs
awesomehotdogs

@Courtney Donaldson Per capita? That could be contested as well. Vermont has the most per capita for a state. 

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