Colorado is quickly becoming a major player in the beer world. The state’s craft-beer industry generated $1.7 billion in 2015, that’s an increase of 48% since the previous year. This enthusiasm for cracking open a locally brewed cold one was very much in evidence at the recent Great American Beer Festival which happened in Denver in October. Now in its 30th year, it brings beer fanatics from across the globe to the mile high city. Fiona Foster reports on the 2016 GABF as part of our series on beer in Colorado.
Of the hundreds of attendees wandering around the booths tasting beer, some are wearing homemade necklaces of pretzels and string cheese, and a few have costumes. For many, this is serious fun—an opportunity to taste some of the best craft beer in the nation and mingle with other beer-lovers.
As one attendee explains, she is here to meet other beer fans like herself. “The atmosphere, obviously the beer, an entire gathering of people who like beer and are likeminded.”
Along with booths for goods and services, there are also talks on everything from homebrewing to beer food parings.
The Festival is also a great opportunity for brewers, distributors, suppliers and other industry professionals to meet with their customers and network with one another. There is also the chance to be awarded the best-in-category beer as determined by a panel of professional judges.
AJ, the brewmaster from Backcountry Brewing in Frisco, Colorado says that for him this event is an opportunity for increased publicity and visibility
“It is a great chance for people to see us from around the country, who don’t actually get up to Frisco Colorado. It is the biggest event of the year for craft brewing. It is an opportunity for craft brewing small and big to compete on the same stage. There are really no biases.”
The Great American Beer Festival not only draws Colorado craft breweries but also out-of-state brewers to exhibit and compete. Among the locals were a number of out-of-state visitors who came to experience Denver and celebrate the craft beer scene. A perfect way to kick off the fall beer season.