Beer Man

$446 million a year and other fun facts about Colorado's craft beer industry

The Colorado Brewers Guild provided proof today of what most Colorado residents have known for a while: beer is good for us, economically at least.

On Tuesday, the Guild, which represents craft breweries in the state legislature, said Colorado's 139 licensed craft breweries pump $446 million a year into the state economy and employ 4,170 people (Update: The Guild originally said the number was $714 million, but revised that several hours later). Conducted by the University of Colorado's Business Research Division, it is the first comprehensive study of the state's craft beer industry.

The study will come in handy if supermarkets or convenience stores decide to sponsor legislation again this year that would allow them to sell full-strength beer. The Guild and small liquor stores have fought those proposals for the past three years, saying they would harm their bottom lines.

Some other fun facts released by the Guild include:

Of the 139 breweries, 85 are brewpubs.

There are another 75 breweries in planning here.

Colorado craft beer represents only 4.6 percent of beer brewed in Colorado; but 64 percent of the 6,600 brewery-relate jobs in the state involve craft brewers.

Durango ranks first for city breweries per capita with four breweries. One brewery per 3,480 people; that will increase with a fifth brewery that is set to open this summer.

Colorado has the second most breweries in the U.S. by state and is third in breweries per capita by state.

At least fourteen Colorado craft breweries export their suds overseas.

Colorado has the highest percentage (18.5 percent) of draft beer consumed in the U.S.

There are twenty hops farms in Colorado.

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes

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