DIA needs to allow craft beer as a carry-on

With more than 120 breweries and some of the best craft beer in the country, Colorado is deservedly proud of its superior suds. And Denver is a major destination for beer tourists from the rest of the country — not just during the Great American Beer Festival, but throughout the year. If one were so inclined, one could easily visit two dozen breweries or more in just a couple of days in the metro area.

But taking that experience home is a little more difficult — especially at the airport.

At Portland International Airport, travelers can buy liquid gifts and souvenirs at the Rogue Ales Public House and the Made in Oregon Store, which stocks craft beer in bottles and growlers, as well as Oregon wines and other state-specific items. And since everything is sold past the security checkpoints, those lucky flyers have no problem carrying their souvenir booze on board their flights.

Denver International Airport offers no way for travelers leaving this city to do the same — despite the fact that the Boulder Beer Company, the ChopHouse, Rock Bottom and New Belgium all have restaurants at DIA. State laws limit the sale of growlers — 64-ounce containers that can be refilled — to the specific brewpub or brewery where the beer is brewed, says Dan Gunter, of the state's Liquor Enforcement Division.

There's no such ban on the sale of Colorado craft beer in cans or bottles — but still, you can't buy beer on any of the concourses, simply because no one has applied for a retail liquor license at DIA, Gunter explains.

If Denver wants to get serious about marketing itself to the rest of the world, it should find a way to peddle its most liquid assets at DIA, and airport spokeswoman Jenny Schiavone says the concept has come up: "We're not aware of any major legal issue preventing a concept like this in Denver, and our concessions group has actually discussed the idea." Before the airport issues a request for proposals , however, it will examine whether it would be economically and legally viable. "We're generally open to someone coming to us with a model for this," she adds.

In fact, they airport has a form on its website where people can submit their bright ideas: http://business.flydenver.com/bizops/concessions.asp.

We'll drink to that.

Left out: This past weekend, Democrats in Eagle, Summit and Lake counties appointed Summit School District superintendent Millie Hamner to fill the Statehouse seat being vacated by Representative Christine Scanlan, who is taking a job as Governor-elect John Hickenlooper's chief lobbyist. The vacancy committee considered eight nominees.

Not on that list: Ali Hasan.

A Republican activist and co-founder of Muslims for Bush, Hasan ran against Scanlan in 2008 for the House District 56 seat and lost ("Is this Muslim Republican Mr. Right or the Big Cheese?," January 17, 2008). But last week, Hasan surprised his supporters by switching parties; he and his parents, well-known Republican fundraisers Seeme and Malik Hasan, whose Hasan Foundation funded Scott McInnis's "Musings on Water," have publicly chastised the GOP for what they perceive as racism and prejudice among its ranks. "The Democratic Party is not perfect, but as of today, they are much closer to the Constitution than the GOP in choosing the Founding Fathers over security, as evidenced by their pro-Mosque, pro-gay, and pro-immigration activists," Ali explained in an open letter to the Republican Party announcing his switch.

Hasan, a social liberal and fiscal conservative, pursued the Republican nomination for state treasurer earlier this year, losing handily. Since then, he's concentrated his time in California, focusing on his filmmaking career.

"I know he cares a great deal about House District 56," says Lucinda Burns, First Vice-Chair of the House District 56 Democrats. "But he did not submit his name. And I think his full-time home is in California now." And should he return to Colorado in the future? "Who knows?" she concludes. "We are very glad to have him join the Democratic Party."

 
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