Competing Colorado craft beer groups officially bury the hatchet

The Colorado Brewers Guild and splinter group Craft Beer Colorado announced plans to merge Wednesday.

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Colorado won’t have to listen to two trade groups yell over each other about what’s best for craft beer in the state.

The Colorado Brewers Guild and splinter group Craft Beer Colorado announced plans to merge Wednesday. Both groups voted to approve reuniting last week, according to a joint statement.

The groups will coalesce under the Colorado Brewers Guild banner. A new executive director will be hired to lead the organization.

“There is no question that we are stronger as one,” said Brian O’Connell, founder of Renegade Brewing Co. and board member, in a statement. One of the guild’s leading priorities is to organize for the upcoming 2017 legislative session.

Denver-based Great Divide, Left Hand Brewing Co., New Belgium Brewing Co., Odell Brewing Co. and Oskar Blues Brewery — five of the largest craft brewers in Colorado — were among those that decided to start their own group earlier this year.

The brewers said they were looking for a more proactive approach to brewery-related rules and regulation than the Colorado Brewers Guild historically provided, as well as more transparent leadership than the guild offered.

Members of both groups agreed to address those issues going forward. The groups also decided any brewery that’s not at least 75 percent independently owned or that brews more than 6 million barrels of beer a year won’t be allowed in the new group. Those rules essentially kick Breckenridge Brewery out. The Denver-based brewer is owned by AB-InBev.

“We have a lot of work to do to protect Colorado’s independent craft brewers in a rapidly changing regulatory and legislative environment,” said Chris Wright, founder of Pikes Peak Brewing and guild board member, in a statement. “We need to ensure all breweries in Colorado are fairly and effectively represented.”

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Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia covers business and trends for Denverite. He's covered business for The Fort Collins Coloradoan and serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.