Colorado Brewers Guild Launches Colorado Strong Fund & Celebrates 25th Anniversary
Over the past 25 years, many things have come to define the state of Colorado. From its snow-capped high country, world-renowned for attracting outdoor tourism, to recent booms in the tech, real estate, marijuana, music, and culinary fields to name a few, Colorado has drawn inspiration from its wild west origins to become a breeding ground for innovation, creativity, and adventure.
Similarly, when discussing America’s craft beer boom, no conversation is complete without Colorado’s nationally acclaimed craft beer landscape. Founded in 1995, the Colorado Brewers Guild (CBG) has been at the forefront of ensuring that the state’s talented breweries have had the resources and legislation needed to thrive on a national scale.
This Saturday, the CBG will celebrate its 25th Anniversary with a virtual “Beerthday Party” featuring an all-star bill of industry titans participating in the Zoom-based conferencing webinar event.
While the momentous occasion would typically call for a bit more pomp and circumstance, the CBG, like many other organizations, has been deeply impacted by widespread shelter-in-place orders. COVID-19 also forced the postponing of this year’s Collaboration Fest and Colorado Pint Day, two of the Guild’s largest yearly fundraisers resulting in a significant loss in the nonprofit organization’s annual budget.
However, in spite of the current circumstances, the CBG has remained vigilant in their role of representing Colorado breweries. Tristan Schmid, Marketing and Events Manager for the Colorado Brewers Guild, noted the work that Executive Director, Shawnee Adelson undertook with Colorado lawmakers was instrumental to ensuring breweries could continue to remain afloat during the shutdown.
“The first few weeks of the pandemic hitting Colorado felt like a firehose of information for us,” said Schmid. “Shawnee was working feverishly with state officials and our legal team to make sure that breweries would be considered “essential businesses” able to stay open for to-go carry out orders.”
“We also fought for them to be given the right to temporarily deliver during the crisis,” Schmid continued.
Saturday’s 25th Anniversary Beerthday Webinar, running from 1-6 pm, will kick off with CBG Board Chair, Dave Bergen of Joyride Brewing, talking with the founders of the Guild about why they started the CBG, what it meant then, and what it means now. The founders include some of the most well-known names in the industry including, Kim Jordan (New Belgium), Jeff Brown (Boulder Beer), Mike Bristol (Bristol Brewing), Doug Odell (Odell Brewing), Eric Wallace (Left Hand), Jeff Mendel (Tabernash), Tom Hennessy (Colorado Boy), Tara Dunn (Great Divide Brewing), and Mark Youngquist (Dolores River Brewing).
From there, Ed Sealover of the Denver Business Journal will lead a discussion with Keith Villa, credited with creating the recipe for Blue Moon, and founder of CERIA, a THC non-alcoholic brewery, will be talking with Karen Hertz of Holidaily (known for its gluten-free beers) and Judd Belstock of Dos Luces (maker of Chicha and Pulque) about nontraditional beers.
Additional sessionals also include a virtual tour of Root Shoot Malting, a DIY beer pairing session with Julia Herz, The Brewers Association’s Craft Beer Program Director and publisher of CraftBeer.com, and a discussion with Dale Katechis, Founder of Oskar Blues Brewery, talking with Jason Ford, Founder of Broken Compass Brewing, and Jordan Fink, Cofounder of Woods Boss Brewing about how their breweries were influenced by the great outdoors.
Peter Bouckaert, formerly of New Belgium Brewing and co-founder of Purpose Brewing, and Troy Casey of Casey Brewing & Blending will lead a session on the art and science of sours. And finally, the day will conclude with Jonathan Shikes, of the Westword, joined by Neil Fisher, co-founder of WeldWerks Brewing, and a number of other brewers enjoying each other’s beers.
Tickets for the Colorado Brewers Guild’s 25th Anniversary Virtual Beerthday Party are currently on-sale for $20.
The CBG has also been working on a number of other fundraising efforts to help recuperate some of the recent losses including sales of a “Colorado Strong” t-shirt, as well as today’s launch of the Colorado Strong Fund in partnership with the Left Hand Brewing Foundation.
The first initiative to come from the fund the call for member breweries to participate in the release of Colorado Strong Pale Ale, a collaborative benefit beer using all Colorado ingredients, modeled after similar projects like Other Half Brewing’s All Together Beer, and Sierra Nevada’s Resilience, aimed to raise money for the CBG in addition to healthcare, hospitality, service industry, and gig economy workers across Colorado.
The Left Hand Brewing Foundation will pay suppliers for all ingredients needed to brew Colorado Strong Pale Ale, and provide all ingredients to participating breweries free of charge. In return, participating breweries are being asked to donate 20% of sales to the Colorado Strong Fund.
“One of the biggest goals of this campaign is to drive consumers to continue purchasing to-go and delivered beer directly from local breweries, which have been hit hard by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Shawnee Adelson, Executive Director of the Colorado Brewers Guild. “Each dollar that consumers spend at nearby independent breweries helps them keep their staff working, provide benefits, and keep the lights on.”
The beer’s recipe is a collaboration between Left Hand Brewing Foundation Treasurer and Great American Beer Fest award-winning homebrewer Mark Boelman along with Root Shoot Malting, and Colorado Hop Company. Additionally, Colorado Strong Pale Ale will be made possible through donated labels from Sticker Giant, beer design by Beer Murch, and additional underwriting by Ball Corporation and On Tap Credit Union.
This joint effort is calling for Colorado Strong Pale Ale brew days to take place on May 1. Interested breweries can sign up at coloradostrongbeer.org.