Top 16 Colorado Breweries See Continued Growth

Colorado's top breweries continue to see record levels of growth for another year, with 16 of the larger breweries enjoying a boom in sales. The top ranked Colorado brewer in terms of size, New Belgium, clocked in with a whopping 259,261 more barrels than the other top 15 breweries combined. New Belgium Brewery is also ranked as the fourth largest craft brewery in the United States and has plans to open a 100,000 square foot distribution center in North Carolina next year where it will produce a whopping 500,000 barrels per year.

In total, all 16 breweries produced over 1.6 million barrels of beer in 2014, with the number continuing to rise in 2015.

Learn more about each individual top 16 brewery here

A Look Inside Denver's Great American Beer Festival

A Look Inside Denver's Great American Beer Festival

By Justin Dolezal, Foodable Contributor

As the American craft beer movement has advanced and grown, a slew of festivals and competitions have been founded to meet beer lover’s demands for events to judge, celebrate, and advance the cause of artisan beer in this country. The king of these festivals is Denver’s Great American Beer Festival, an annual fall celebration of American beer that takes place this year from September 24-26th. The event draws over 700 of the country’s finest breweries and thousands of craft beer aficionados to the Denver Convention Center.

For brewers, the festival offers an opportunity for exposure, providing artisans access to beer fans across the country, eager to experience new and novel brews. The event’s competition, in which hundreds of beers are judged according to style, can add legitimacy to under-the-radar breweries looking for a way to increase their public profile. For the beer lovers who attend the event, it provides an opportunity to revel in the exciting, ever-evolving world of American beer.

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New Belgium to Open Sour Brewery Inside The Source Hotel

New Belgium Brewery  | Facebook

New Belgium Brewery | Facebook

Colorado's largest brewery New Belgium has just announced plans to open a pilot brewery that will brew only sour beers inside the upcoming Source Hotel in 2017. The experimental brewery plans to brew its sour beers in a ten barrel brewery on the ground floor of the hotel while aging the beers in barrels in a lounge located on the eighth floor where it will also serve food inside of a beer garden. 

The brewery will join a number of other local restaurants and shops set to open within the eagerly awaited hotel and the sour beers brewed at this location will also be served at the various restaurants and bars within the Source Hotel and the market hall. Read More

First Draft Features Denver's First Self-Service Bar

With more and more restaurants adopting digital technologies into their restaurant operations, Denver based First Draft has just upped the ante with its introduction of the city's first self service bar. Featuring a wall of tap handles that customers are able to access themselves, the system allows patrons to purchase a beer card which is then used to pour individual beers.  The amount of ounces poured is logged and then charged to the customer's card.

Popping up in other restaurants and bars nationwide, these self-service bar concepts allow establishments to staff less bartenders as customers are able to be more self-autonomous with their drinks. Each establishment operating one of these systems is able to place pour limits for customers do avoid over-serving any guests.  

While some claim the system is too impersonal and eliminates elements of service, hospitality and the personal exchange between bartender and patron, the response has been generally favorable amongst users, who enjoy the freedom the system provides in choosing how much (or how little) to drink.  Read More

Proposed taproom regulations cause Colorado breweries and restaurants to face off


The Colorado Legislature introduced a bill this week that seeks to increase regulations on the state’s growing number of taprooms and breweries.  Relatively standard, House Bill 1217 would require any brewery looking to sell their beers on site to notify local authorities of their intent and local licensing authorities would then have 30 days to submit comments to the state which would be considered in the decision to approve or deny the taproom’s license.

Yet while the bill wouldn’t grant local authorities any new authority to approve or reject applications, the Colorado Restaurant Association, or CRA, has entered into the discussion looking to possibly amend the bill to include more protections for local restaurants.  

Claiming that the growing number of Colorado food trucks have begun partnering with local taprooms  that have adversely affected nearby restaurants, CRA president and CEO Sonia Riggs has argued that any location selling alcohol on site should be subject to the same regulations governing taverns and bars.  Riggs hopes to work to amend the bill to implement such changes and has already begun asking for taprooms to collect signatures from local communities and to offer food to customers as bars are required to do.  

Yet brewers have countered with the argument that restaurants and taprooms run separate business models and breweries are already subject to separate limitations and requirements, such as serving only the beer that the brewery produces and the requirement to get approval of their beers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

Read more on the ongoing legal battle between Colorado’s breweries and restaurants here