Colorado Breweries Work to ‘Keep Colorado LocALE’


DURANGO – Breweries from across Colorado are producing a special brew to focus attention on protecting local businesses.

Colorado brewers, craft distillers and local wine-makers have teamed up with locally owned liquor stores to form Keep Colorado Local, a coalition working to educate the public on how liquor sales in grocery and convenience stores would hurt our local economy, public safety, and craft culture. This fall they’re starting the conversation over a beer: the Keep Colorado LocALE.

On Aug. 26, Steamworks brewing in Durango became the second brewery in the state — and the first outside of Denver — to do the honors. They will tap their first batch of the Keep Colorado LocALE today.

Allowing out-of-state chains to have multiple licenses to sell alcohol in Colorado would have a devastating impact on local businesses. One study concluded that such a move would force 40% of Colorado’s locally owned liquor stores – roughly 700 business — to close.

“If local liquor stores go out of business, Colorado’s 300-plus craft breweries lose a critical link in their distribution networks. We’re brewing the LocALE to remind people that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ ” said Ken Martin, head brewer at Steamworks.

“Steamworks knows that when they have a new product, I’m more than willing to put it in our store,” said Mike Rich of Wagon Wheel Liquors in Durango. “Within days we are able to get it on our shelves and into customers’ hands. That’s the kind of quick turnaround you get with a local store, but the bureaucracy of big corporate chain stores can tie up a small brewery for months or even years. That stalls the entire craft industry.”

To date, 17 breweries have agreed to brew the Keep Colorado LocALE and serve it in their taprooms:

  • Bonfire Brewing (Eagle)
  • Blue Spruce Brewing (Centennial)
  • Broken Compass Brewing (Breckenridge)
  • CAUTION: Brewing Co. (Denver, Lakewood)
  • Chain Reaction Brewing Company (Denver)
  • Crabtree Brewing (Greeley)
  • Dry Dock Brewing (Aurora)
  • Eddyline Brewing (Buena Vista)
  • Joy Ride Brewing (Denver)
  • Kokopelli Beer Co. (Westminster)
  • Lone Tree Brewing Co. (Lone Tree)
  • Pateros Creek Brewing (Fort Collins)
  • Rockyard Brewing (Castle Rock)
  • Steamworks Brewing Co. (Durango)
  • Strange Craft Beer Company (Denver)
  • Very Nice Brewing Company (Nederland)
  • Zephyr Brewing Company (Denver)

The breweries will produce their version of the Keep Colorado LocALE, a bright, citrusy, and fruity pale ale with a hoppy nose and a sweet malt backbone. Each brewery is encouraged to use Colorado-grown ingredients and add their own twists to the recipe, which is available to press, brewers and homebrewers throughout Colorado.

Later this year, homebrewers will be challenged to brew their version of the Keep ColoradoLocALE, again using local ingredients, ideally fresh hops, and a Colorado twist. We will provide the recipe to homebrewers and host a homebrew competition.

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