Great Divide Brewing Company

Why Some Breweries Avoid Distributors

For a start-up brewery, Denver is a challenging market. The area is not only awash in breweries, but demand has driven up the price of cans. This has caused some small breweries to adopt a different business model: bypass packaging altogether, and sell fresh beer only to the immediate neighborhood. Breweries that adopt this model avoid the expense of buying a canning or bottling line, hiring sales personnel, and hiring a distributor. And they have the option to package if market conditions change.

Breweries that sell directly to customers enjoy a greater return on investment. They have more freedom to experiment with beer styles, and brewery owners contend that their product is fresher than the packaged variety. Many have won a devoted following in their neighborhoods. Small breweries have even created their own beer festival, called Festivaus. It attracts more than 60 Denver breweries, and a crowd of over 2,000 attendees.

In two decades, Denver’s craft brewing industry has come full circle. In 1994, when Great Divide Brewing Company opened, it faced stiff competition from four nearby brewpubs; and, at the time, a brewery that opened a taproom was expected to operate it as a restaurant. Instead, Great Divide packaged its beer and didn’t open a taproom for 13 years.

The Friday Mash (Oxford Edition)

Today is the 800th anniversary of the granting of a royal charter to the University of Oxford. Alumni include 26 British Prime Ministers, including current PM David Cameron; many foreign heads of state, including President Bill Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar; and 27 Nobel laureates.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Kalamazoo where, for $19, you can take part in a craft beer walking tour. Participants will meet brewery staff; learn about the city’s brewing history; and, of course, sample some beer.

Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors will post their beers’ ingredients online. This comes after a blogger called “the Food Babe” claimed that some beers contained high-fructose corn syrup and other additives.

Brian Dunn, the founder of Great Divide Brewing Company, sat down with Eater magazine and talked about his 20 years in Denver, what urban brewing is like, and the whereabouts of the Yeti.

Move over, bacon beer. The latest food-in-your-beer trend is peanut butter and jelly. Florida’s Funky Buddha Brewery offers a PB&J beer called “No Crusts.”

Purists think beer has no place in a yogic lifestyle, but yoga classes are popping up in breweries. Post-practice beer makes made yoga more social, and persuades men to take it up.

When you travel abroad, what do you get when you ask for “one beer, please”? Not only will the brand and style depend on the country you’re in, but so will the size of your serving.

Finally, any in the beer community maintain that brewing is an art form. Don Tse, writing in All About Beer magazine, agrees. His article explores the close relationship between fine beer and fine art.

The Friday Mash (Belgian Edition)

On this day in 1830, the Kingdom of Belgium declared its independence from The Netherlands. Since then, Belgium has acquired quite a reputation for its beer.

And now…the Mash!

We begin in Florida, where the Jacksonville Jaguars offered free beer to fans who bought tickets to their game against the Colts. The Jags lost, and the free beer didn’t help attendance.

Raise the price of beer and people drink less of it, right? Not at Oktoberfest, where per capita consumption went up even though the price of beer rose much faster than the rate of inflation.

According to, people who drink microbrews are more likely to have one-night stands. They’re also more likely to prefer outdoor adventures on a first date.

Beer and books? Yes, please. Atomic Books and Red Emma’s, two independent bookstores in Baltimore, plan to serve beer along with their hardcovers, paperbacks, and comic books.

The Esquire Network’s lineup of shows includes Brew Dogs, which stars James Watt and Martin Dickie of Scotland’s BrewDog brewery. Their first episode was filmed in San Diego.

Fast Company magazine has prepared an infographic contrasting the effects of beer and coffee on the human brain. Did you know that beer (in moderation) makes you more creative?

Finally, if you’re going to the Great American Beer Festival, take note: the Ritz-Carlton in Denver is offering 75-minute “ex-beer-iences”, either a massage or a pedicure with Great Divide beer.

The Friday Mash (Definitive Edition)

On this day in 1755, Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language was published. It was considered the pre-eminent British dictionary for a century and a half after it first appeared. When Dr. Johnson wasn’t writing, he enjoyed a pot of ale and the company of friends, which we consider an example worth following even if you’re not a famous author.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Colorado, where some microbreweries find themselves victims of their own success. Both Great Divide Brewing Company and Avery Brewing Company are reducing the number of states they distribute to because demand has gotten ahead of supply.

Archaeologists have discovered that at the Battle of Gallipoli, Australian soldiers drank rum, not beer. Ironically, it was their enemy, the Turks, who drank beer. Their brands of choice were Bomonti and Constantinople.

Washington State has more than 100 breweries, but none of them are co-operatives. That’s about to change. Flying Bike Cooperative, a brewery to be built and directed by its owner-members, plans to open late next year.

American diplomats in Saudi Arabia got Brooklyn Brewery founder Steve Hindy interested in good beer. Their diplomatic status made it easy to import homebrewing ingredients into a country where alcohol is strictly forbidden.

Christmas is 253 days away, but a battle of the elves is brewing in Pennsylvania. Troegs Brewing Company, which makes Mad Elf Ale, has filed a trademark infringement suit against Fegley’s Brew Works’ Rude Elf’s Reserve.

Has horse racing fallen this far? The Preakness, the second leg in the sport’s Triple Crown, unveiled a half-man, half-horse character named “Kegasus” as the mascot for this year’s race.

Finally, a story about etymology. Why do we call 22-ounce bottles “bombers”? Joe Pentecost of the University of Connecticut Daily Campus says the word is not derived from the B-22 airplane, which never made it into production.

Good Humor

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