360 Craft Brewers Dominate Colorado Market
Believe it or not, the Colorado marketplace is home to not one but a staggering 360 craft brewers. How in the world did we get here? Probably one beer at a time.
Since Before Colorado Was a State
There’s been a love of beer here in Colorado since before statehood. The earliest brewer, Rocky Mountain Brewers operated out of the back of a Denver storefront. There brew didn’t even featured Hops. I’m not certain we would recognize their beer by today’s standards.
Excavation Leads to Adventuring and an Ice Cold Beer
When the state first got going, people were coming here for careers in excavation. The gold rush brought the initial round of settlers to the area seeking fortune and fame.
Beer was served in saloons. These were more than rowdy gathering spots. They might also serve as post offices and banks. Frequently a saloon would be a gathering spot for a group sharing a similar cultural heritage.
The early day saloons were nothing like today’s craft brewers tasting rooms.
For starters, nice women didn’t frequent saloons. And housing was at such a premium back then (this sounds similar to Boulder’s dilemma today), some men would sleep on the floor of a saloon because there was just nowhere else to live.
Along Comes Prohibition
Prior to prohibition, which believe it or not came to the area four years before the rest of America, drinking was 70% higher nationwide. Prohibition was born out of good intentions. When our state – along with the rest of the Union decided to re-legalize drinking, the new bars replacing saloons were less of a cultural gathering spot. And, women were welcome.
Side Note: history does repeat. Prohibition in Colorado was driven by concern about over-drinking. Not unlike the concerns driving our nation today as we discuss the opioid epidemic.
In fact, beside women, local bars began in earnest an advertising campaign called, Beer Belongs. The idea being, we were ready to full on embrace our drinking ways in Colorado. And from humble beginnings, in a state with a lack of hops, barley and some days water, we are now at the epicenter of the craft brewing world.
Visit Pearl Street Mall and you’ll even find an association headquarters.