Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Love the Beer You're With.

I saw an article about a new brewery in Fort Collins called the Horsetooth Brewing Company and checked out their website . Although I was excited at the prospect of a new brewery, the article seemed premature as the company is newly incorporated, and does not have a location, equipment, permits, licenses, or investors yet. They do have a business plan, a really nice logo, Facebook, and Twitter Accounts, and a blog. I'd say, they are about 12 weeks ahead of Skeptical Brewing Company (my fantasy brewery) at this point. Still, I hope that they get to the point where they can make some beer, but it seems such a long road, perhaps years before they get there. The Mountain Sun Brewery(2 locations in Boulder, Colorado) opened a pub near my house called The Vine Street Pub (17th Avenue and Vine Street) over a year ago with the intention of it being their third brewpub. They are just now going through rezoning hearings, and don't expect to have brewery operations going for another 12 months. (zoning and permitting is my original line of work, and it takes more time than anyone seems to plan for).

Fort Collins, Colorado is a beer mecca. I moved there in 1993 when my wife got accepted to graduate school (for the first time). Back then, there were 3 breweries (New Belgium, O'Dell's, and HC Berger) and 2 brew pubs (Coopersmith's and Dimmer's (I think)). There were 4 breweries if you include the Anheuser Busch plant north of town. HC Berger and Dimmer's didn't make it, but others have come along. I haven't been up there in a long time and need to go.

I wonder how many other breweries and brewpubs are in the planning stages right now? With so many people out of work or with reduced work schedules it would seem that a lot of people could be planning breweries. Conventional wisdom is that beer sales are recession proof, but beer sales actually fell late last year when the economy tanked. However, the craft beer market continues to grow. The Denver Business Journal recently reported that Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado has increased production by 84% this year, and the people at Great Divide in Denver tell me that they are in the process of adding 20% to their capacity. According to the Brewer's Association, overall, the craft industry is up 9% this year.

Still, I haven't seen or heard of many openings of new breweries. If they do, perhaps we won't see them until this whole messy recession is over, or the planning will stop when we all get jobs. If you see a new brewery in your town, check them out. As the old saying goes...."Think Globally, Drink Locally". If you are lucky enough to travel, seek the local brewery or brew pub....remember, if you can't be with the beer you love, love the beer you're with.

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