Westword: Great Divide Shares Some Local Knowledge Along With a New Beer Series

Here’s a bit of local knowledge: When Great Divide Brewing opened in 1994, owner Brian Dunn was taking a huge risk. Although it seems strange to think about now, there weren’t any breweries in Denver back then that didn’t also serve food. There were no brewery taphouses or craft-beer bars or tasting rooms. Great Divide started out with just two beers that Dunn had worked on in his kitchen, but just a decade later, the brewery was a well-recognized medal winner and a leader when it came to trying new styles.

Today, the brewery is the largest in Denver, with brands like Yeti and Titan and Colette that are sold in thirteen states across the country. Great Divide has two taprooms, state-of-the art equipment and packaging lines, the capacity to make 60,000 barrels of beer per year, and plans to eventually build a $38 million brewery and restaurant on five acres of land it purchased in 2014 along Brighton Boulevard in River North.

All of that growth and change means that Great Divide isn’t as nimble as it once was. It’s a stiffness that is hurting medium-sized and large craft-beer makers nationwide as the sheer number of small neighborhood breweries continues to grow: There are now more than 5,000 breweries in the United States.”

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