Great Divide Announces New Production Brewery

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This is great news. Brian Dunn of Great Divide Brewing in Denver, Colorado, has announced that they will be building a brand new production brewery on a five-acre site in the River North neighborhood. When completed, it will take capacity to around 100,000 barrels, and ultimately to a maximum of 250,000 when all is said and done. Last year, Great Divide made a little bit more than 37,000 barrels of beer. Phase One will start in a couple of months, which is to demolish the abandoned auto parts warehouse that currently sits on the land. Next, they’ll build a 70,000-square-foot warehouse to use for storage of kegs and packaged beer, a priority. That should be finished by the spring of 2015, qnd will also include a new canning line, meaning that Great Divide will begin canning their beers next year.

According to the Denver Post, “A tasting room and beer garden adjacent to the new production brewery – overlooking a planned city park, the South Platte River and the mountains beyond – is at least two and possibly three years down the road.” Once the brewery is operational, they’re repurpose the existing downtown brewery for smaller batch beers and special releases.

Congratulations to Brian and the brewery. I can’t wait to see the new brewery up and running.

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Brian Dunn, on the former car salvage yard that will house the new Great Divide brewery, tap room and beer garden (photo by Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

Beer Birthday: Chris Black

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Chris Black, who along with his brother, owns the Falling Rock, the best beer bar in Denver and HQ for beer people during GABF, turns 51 today. Chris is a great guy and one of a handful of Publicans across the country doing things right when it comes to beer. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.

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Chris and me toward the end of the night at GABF a few years ago.

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Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River Brewing with Chris at the Celebrator’s 18th Anniversary Party.

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Shaun O’Sullivan (21st Amendment), Judy Ashworth (Publican Emeritus) and Chris at Falling Rock during GABF in 2006.

Megan Flynn, of Beer NW & Chris Black, Owner of The Falling Rock
Megan Flynn, of the now-defunct Beer NW (later Beer West), with Chris at the end of GABF Week in 2009.

Beer Birthday: Marty Jones

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Today is my friend and colleague Marty Jones’ birthday, though how old the eternally young Mr. Jones may be is anybody’s guess. In addition to beer journalist, brewery rep., Marty is administrator of the Beer Drinker of the Year Contest, a musician, and much else. Join me in wishing Marty a very happy birthday.

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Marty Jones — along with his Brewbadors — entertaining the faithful with his original beer-soaked tunes at the Falling Rock during GABF week 2007.

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Marty toasting me at the 2002 Great American Beer Festival.

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Marty serenading the crowd during a seminar on marketing for brewpubs that he gave at the 2007 CBC

Beer Birthday: John Hickenlooper

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Today is the 62nd birthday of Governor of Colorado — and former Denver mayor — John Hickenlooper. John was also the co-founder of Wynkoop Brewery in Denver’s LoDo District, and in fact is credited with helping to revitalize the whole area. After being a popular, and by all accounts very effective mayor, for several years, he was elected as the Governor of Colorado. John’s been great for Denver, Colorado and craft brewing. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

George Wendt, Nancy Johnson & Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper
George Wendt, Nancy Johnson & John at the Great American Beer Festival three years ago.

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With Ken Allen, from Anderson Valley Brewing, and Dave Buehler, from Elysian Brewing at GABF several years ago.

Your Father’s Beer

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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning famously said a couple of weeks ago after his victory over the Chargers that all he could think of was how soon he could “get a Bud Light in [his] mouth.” It seemed like a slap in the face to pick Budweiser while being the QB in the land of Rocky Mountain spring water-made Coors. Not to mention that Colorado is one of the best beer states in America, so it’s no surprise that a number of smaller craft breweries also called him out for his choice of frosty beverage. But in subsequent interviews, Manning’s stuck to his guns, succinctly explaining the reason for his beer preference.

“My father taught me a number of things, one of which being that Bud Light is the preferred beer of the Manning household”

My only question is this. Peyton Manning is 37 years old. He’s also married with two children, and presumably no longer lives at home but has his own household. At what age did you stop doing everything your father told you? It may be true, but it seems like a bit of a cop out. I thought it was more common to eschew your father’s beer and make your own choices.

I remember a particularly enlightening conversation I eavesdropped on at GABF a number of years ago. I was walking the hall, in a hurry on my way to somewhere, when a group of at least half-a-dozen young men, presumably in their early twenties, blocked my path and forced me to slow up behind them. From just behind their slow-walking row, I could hear what they were saying as we ambled past the Sierra Nevada Brewing booth. One of the them elbowed his friend, and pointing his head toward Sierra Nevada’s booth, remarked. “Sierra Nevada; my Dad really likes that beer.” He put the emphasis on “Dad” when he said it, indicating that it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. I remembered that a while later when I was having dinner and some drinks with Ken and Brian Grossman, and mentioned what I’d overheard. They said they were fully aware of that as a growing problem, having been around long enough that they were becoming the new generation’s Dad’s beer. It’s part of the reason they began doing so many more collaborations, specialty releases and even beer camp. It’s an interesting facet of the craft beer industry as it grows and matures. How do you maintain your image while also remaining fresh to newer, younger customers? Because nobody wants to drink the same beer as their father. I know I didn’t, and don’t.

I know none of this matters and everyone is free to drink whatever the hell they want. Still, I find it fascinating to watch how certain statements play out in the media. Had Manning picked a Coors product, he would have pleased the hometown fans. Had he picked a craft beer, especially a local one, he would have made the hometown fans, and many good beer lovers, overjoyed. Instead he picked Bud Light, coincidentally the “official beer of the NFL,” so most likely the group he pleased the most was the league.

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Last fall, Manning apparently bought twenty-one Papa John’s Pizza franchises, all in Colorado. I wonder what beers they serve?

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Hickenlooper Running For Governor

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Last week, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who many believed might make a run for governor of Colorado, announced he would not run, instead endorsing Denver mayor John Hickenlooper. For several years, Hickenlooper has been urged to seek the governor’s office, but has said he didn’t want to be governor. Today, the Denver Post announced that former owner and Wynkoop Brewpub founder John Hickenlooper has changed his mind, and will run for Colorado governor.

Current Colorado governor, Democrat Bill Ritter, had earlier decided not to seek reelection, which sparked a flurry of possible democrats for the office. Ritter was on hand for Hickenlooper’s announcement, suggesting he may have the governor’s support as well. The Post also reported that “President Barack Obama called Hickenlooper last Friday to encourage him to run.”

GABF 2009

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This year’s Great American Beer Festival was another terrific event and the week flew by faster even than in previous years. Between judging, media events, the festival itself, beer dinners and other side events it was a very full week. I tasted an enormous amount of great beer, ate some terrific food with that beer. I saw many old friends and made plenty of new ones. What more could one ask for from a GABF week?

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George Wendt, Nancy Johnson, and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper at the GABF Awards Ceremony.

Jeff Bearer, Stan Hieronymus, Stephen Beaumont, me and Rick Lyke @ Great Divide
Jeff Bearer, from Craft Beer Radio, Stan Hieronymus, Stephen Beaumont, me and Rick Lyke @ Great Divide’s annual Media Reception.

Vinnie & Natalie Cilurzo, from Russian River, with Ron & Laurie Jeffrie, from Jolly Pumpkin
Vinnie & Natalie Cilurzo, from Russian River, with Ron & Laurie Jeffrie, from Jolly Pumpkin.

Nicole Erny & Matt Brynildson Toasting the End of GABF Week
Nicole Erny & Matt Brynildson Toasting the End of GABF Week at The Falling Rock

Below is a slideshow of my time at GABF this year. After clicking on the arrow in the center to start the slideshow, you can also click on the button on the bottom right with the four arrows pointing outward on it, to see the photos in glorious full screen. Once in full screen slideshow mode, click on “Show Info” to identify who’s in the photos.

For pictures of the GABF awards ceremony, see the GABF Awards 2009 gallery.

2009 Longshot Winners

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This year’s Longshot American Homebrew Contest winners were announced this morning in Denver at a brunch hosted by the Boston Beer Co. during GABF week. Here are the winners:

  1. Michael Robinson — Old Ale
  2. Ben Miller — Barleywine
  3. Jeremy White (Sam Adams employee winner) — Saison

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The Winners Pose with Jim Koch

Below is a short slideshow of the Longshot Winners reception. If you click on the button on the bottom right with the four arrows pointing outward on it, you can see the photos in glorious full screen.

Below is a video of Jim Koch announcing the winners of the Longshot competition.

GABF 2009 Begins

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The Great American Beer Festival begins today. I’ve been here in Denver since Tuesday and spent all day yesterday judging. Today will be more of the same, but at 5:30 this afternoon, the first public session begins. Then there are all the side events. To say this is a busy week for me is to engage in gross understatement. In an effort to keep these pages from being blank the entire week, I’ll be posting photo galleries from previous events that I haven’t had a chance to post since I moved the Bulletin to its new home a few months ago (and yes, links will be coming back at some point, too).

This year, a little over 3,300 beers were entered in the competition (a 16% increase over last year) and there a record number of judges, too (129), to keep pace with the growing number of beers.

Below are photos from last year’s Great American Beer Festival.