Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Two weeks ago, the Colorado Department of Agriculture launched the "Choose Colorado" state tour, promoting local agriculture and products. There was talk of local cantaloupes and corn. But make no mistake, this tour is laden with beer as well.
The 14-year-old "Colorado Proud" program is set up to promote all food and beverage products grown and made in Colorado, and it is heading out on statewide tour for the first time this year. And state officials have not been shy about pointing out the advantage of locally grown hops, barley and additives that make locally brewed beverages especially special.
Take, for example, Breckenridge Brewery's Agave Wheat, a beer made with a key cactus ingredient that Breck brewers picked up at Sprouts grocery stores throughout the Denver area. They created the beer, labeled it proudly as a Colorado ale and watched sales of the tangy wheat with a stronger punch than most of its ilk grow across the country.
"We'd walk in bars and say 'We're Todd and Todd from Breckenridge Brewery in Colorado. And people would say, "Hey, Colorado?'" he said.
Doug Hyndman, head brewer at Dry Dock Brewing, went to Clemson University in that very same state of South Carolina, and he (pictured below) followed the Colorado reputation across the country. Dry Dock just recently joined Colorado Proud to support Colorado's efforts to promote its homegrown products, he said. (And we all know how well that brewery promotes Colorado beer.)
So, what does this program really mean for the average beer geek, who already tends to search out Colorado brews and promote the state's brewing scene? Probably not a whole lot to the learned.
But what can it do for businesses that are considering whether to invest more in Colorado products, including Colorado beers, as well as their customers? Well, just ask Rob Lanphier, owner of the Handlebar bar/restaurant and Pour Kids Bar Group.
Pour Kids is a "statetriotic" effort that promotes not just Colorado beer, wine and liquor but Colorado-raised produce and Colorado-made products. People may not think about ordering Colorado-specific when they come in, but when presented with a menu full of state-centric options, they tend to gravitate toward them and support local products, Lanphier said.
"There's really a heightened interest in buying local. I've noticed this trend the last couple of years," he said.
And that's a goal that all Colorado beer drinkers can support.