Colorado Native follows Blue Moon into cans

AC Golden Brewing, the tiny MillerCoors-owned beer maker located inside the Golden factory, will begin packaging its signature Colorado Native in cans for the summer; it will be sold in twelve-packs starting May 1.

"Our retailers and drinkers have been requesting cans, especially for summer, so they can take Colorado Native more places -- camping, golfing, lakeside -- where they don't want to (or can't) take glass," the company says in a statement announcing the move. AC Golden was created in 2008 as an independent product incubator for Coors; in addition to Colorado Native, it brews Winterfest, Herman Joseph's Private Reserve and some specialty lagers in very limited quantities.

Colorado Native is a light lager that uses 99 percent Colorado-grown or -produced ingredients. And starting this fall, AC Golden plans to up that 99 percent Colorado designation to 100 percent when it begins harvesting its own hops on Coors-owned property, says AC Golden president Glenn Knippenberg. AC Golden will also use hops grown around the state by its fans, many of whom got free hops plants from the company last year.

Right now, AC Golden has no plans to distribute the beer outside of Colorado. "Colorado hops production is on the increase," Knippenberg says, "but that being said, there is no way we can get enough Colorado-grown hops to brew beer to ship out of the state."

AC Golden falls under a MillerCoors division called Tenth and Blake, co-headquartered in Denver, which oversees most of the company's specialty and craft-style beers. Last May, Tenth and Blake began packaging its Blue Moon beer in cans.

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan.

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