Denver’s Beer Scene is (Quietly) Exploding

2015 July 16
by David Schlichter
LowDown Brewery The Good Life Denver

A flight of beers at LowDown Brewery and Kitchen in Denver

While Denver has gotten lots of publicity for medicinal and recreational marijuana boom in recent years, there hasn’t been as much publicity for another dramatic boom that this city that has been experiencing: the boom of craft brewing.

Denver has been known as a great craft beer town for quite some time, but the recent stats are amazing. When I wrote this article at the end of 2011, the number of breweries in Colorado was 124. At that time, Denver seemed like the dream city for beer aficionados, but since then things have gotten even better. As of the end of 2014, there were 235 breweries in the state, and of those, a whopping 76 were in Denver County alone, with another 83 or so in the surrounding Denver metro area (not including Boulder). Are we in beer heaven yet?

Many of our microbreweries are housed in the heart of downtown Denver, with 11 in RiNo alone. In fact, with many of the newest microbreweries popping up in RiNo in the last year, RiNo now may actually offer the densest concentration of distinct microbreweries of any place in the world.  See below for a map of Denver area breweries from Fermentedly Challenged, a great Colorado beer blog run by Dave Butler out of Greeley.

All of this craft beer production is Good news for beer drinkers, but it is also Good news for our economy. Breweries create jobs on the production side, but they also participate in a highly complimentary economy. Craft beer tour companies are popping up, tourists come to Denver specifically for the beer scene, food trucks partner with them and get a stable customer base, and there couldn’t be a better place to host the Great American Beer Festival, which hosts nearly 50,000 people in Denver each year who then participate in other aspects of our local economy.

Craft Beer Sales 2014

As of the time of my 2011 article, craft beer had a 4.9% share of the domestic beer market, according to the Brewers Association. That figure is now 11%.  Americans have demonstrated a growing desire to consume craft beer, and Denver continues to be ideally positioned to capture that demand. Do I think that all of the new breweries in Denver will survive the competition? No. Will there be even more breweries that place test their fate in the Denver market, though? Absolutely.

In today’s economy, cities tend to struggle to differentiate themselves. Colorado, and Denver in particular, certainly differentiated themselves with the legalization of retail marijuana.  But with all of the media frenzy surrounding that decision in recent years, the Denver craft brewing scene hasn’t gotten the attention it otherwise would have when exploding and quickly turning Denver into one of the best beer cities in the world (no big deal).

So, let’s continue supporting and celebrating the amazing craft brewing scene here in Denver, systematically marketing it as an attraction to the rest of the country (and the world)…and, of course, enjoying some Good Denver beer!

The Good Life Denver is written by David Schlichter. To stay in the loop, like The Good Life Denver on Facebook and follow @thegoodlifeden on Twitter and @thegoodlifedenver on Instagram!

In addition to writing for The Good Life Denver, David works full-time as a Denver real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Downtown, LLC. David helps his clients (ranging from first-time home buyers, to sellers, to seasoned investors) achieve their real estate goals. Contact David today for all of your Denver real estate needs. Direct: 720-440-2340

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