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BREAKING | Boulder Beer Rolls Out Updated Look, Brand Refresh

Boulder Beer
Scott Grossman

Boulder Beer Company has opened another chapter in its long and storied history with a relaunch and refresh of the brand. This includes new can designs, realignment of the beer portfolio and a new partnership to help roll out the refreshed brand.

Boulder Beer will reduce core beers from six to five and eliminate its seasonal program to make the lineup more accessible to distributors and consumers. It will also resurrect old favorite Buff Gold as SKO – Buff Gold and introduce a new crossover brew named Bubbly by Nature.

In conjunction with the sales agreement, Boulder Beer announced an agreement with Stem Ciders of Lafayette, Colorado, to assume responsibility for Boulder’s sales and marketing. Boulder Beer also introduced a version of its iconic Shake – Chocolate Porter aged in Laws Whiskey barrels to help kick off the relaunch.

Focus on Efficiency & Broader Distribution

All parties expect that this collaboration will drive efficiencies and provide access to new markets through Stem Ciders’ extensive network. Said Eric Foster, co-founder of Stem, “With our ability to sell and market both Boulder Beer and Stem Ciders, it becomes more efficient for wholesalers and retailers alike.” Sales and marketing were previously handled by Sleeping Giant Brewing, which brews Boulder Beer.

The move comes as Sleeping Giant looks to focus more on production. Matthew Osterman, president and founder of Sleeping Giant, connected with Dave Duffy, CCO at Stem Ciders, as both parties felt Stem Ciders could help provide a creative solution to support sales and marketing of Boulder Beer.

Their discussions lead to the current partnership. Stem will handle the day-to-day sales and marketing of Boulder Beer alongside Stem Ciders. According to Osterman, the partnership makes sense for Sleeping Giant, Stem, and also for distributors and wholesalers.

“It’s nice for accounts to be able to pick up two clients, but only have to interface with one sales team. For everything Stem and Boulder Beer they’ll only need one point of contact, one ABP, one invoicing system, one rep.”

Tapping Into the Boulder Vibe

For the rebrand, the team focused on the things that make the city of Boulder unique. The can art features black-and-white photos taken by Boulderites that showcase their unique viewpoint of Boulder’s natural setting.

“Each design and color choice is hand-picked from the colors and textures that make up Boulder,” said Greg Owsley. Owsley consulted on the project and is the founder of The Storied Brand.

Said Stem’s Duffy, “We thought that we needed to start fresh with an empty palate and reinvent. Boulder as a city has really evolved and we felt the brand should really reflect that reinvention.”

The partners expect that the rebranding and expanded distribution will revitalize the brand, re-engage current customers and allow new customers to discover Boulder Beer. Already available in over a dozen states, Boulder Beer plans to add another six shortly.

Partnership Brings Decades of Experience to Boulder Beer’s Brand

The new arrangement brings together the strengths of several veterans of the Colorado brewing industry. Boulder Beer is Colorado’s original craft beer brewery, going back over 40 years. Sleeping Giant is a dedicated craft brewery catering to the craft beer industry and has brewed Boulder Beer since 2019. Stem Ciders is a regional cidery with multiple retail locations and distribution business.

Between the three, the brand draws on decades of beer-industry experience. “Collaboration has been a fantastic aspect of this industry,” explained Stem’s Foster.

Boulder Beer Co Founders
Boulder Beer Company founders back in the day

Adapting to the Times

This renewal represents quite a turnaround from just 16 months ago. A fixture in the craft beer industry since 1979, Boulder Beer announced in October 2019 that it would cease distribution of its beer. It planned to serve beer solely from the Boulder taproom.

However, in December it did an about-face and announced that distribution would continue, with Sleeping Giant taking over brewing, sales and marketing. This change of direction signaled a move to a distribution-only model as Boulder Beer closed its Boulder taproom shortly thereafter.

History Marches Forward

Boulder Beer was started in Boulder, Colorado, in a shed by two University of Colorado professors. It combined the hippie Boulder vibe with innovative brewing ideas. It also helped kick off the current golden age of craft beer. Boulder Beer served as a pioneer and resource for the craft brewing industry and influenced several generations of brewers.

Over the years the brewery has adapted to numerous industry and ownership changes. This newest partnership further reflects its ability to change with the times.

Images provided by Boulder Beer Company and Sleeping Giant Brewing Company.

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  1. Bill

    Laughably bad brand redesign. Boulder beer is owned and run by complete morons and they should have just let a crappy brand die.

    • Rusty

      I love the Boulder Shake and am glad to see it coming back. I don’t really care what the can looks like, I just want what’s inside.

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