Colorado's onetime Brewer-in-Chief is beloved by many in Colorado, but former governor John Hickenlooper has been having trouble getting traction on a national scale for his presidential run. While he'll be on the stage for the next pair of Democratic debates at the end of July, he's in danger of being shut out of the round in September.
So Hick, with the help of longtime friend and beer marketing specialist Marty Jones, is appealing to a demographic group that he hopes will have his back — his liquid base: the brewers of America.
In a new, online-only campaign spot, Hickenlooper, standing in front of the brewing equipment at Wynkoop Brewing, the brewpub he co-founded back in 1988, tells viewers that he understands "America's crisis of division," before adding in a much more animated voice, "But we can't let hazy IPA and pastry stout divide our nation any longer."
It's a joke that only craft-beer lovers will get. But that's the point, says Jones. "There is this gigantic, opened-minded group of people out there that he alone has a connection with: lovers of craft beer," he explains. "He understands the collaborative nature of working together, which is what brewers do. And so many of us are hungry for that. It's vital for the country and for progress. Hopefully, they will look at his record and support him."
The lighthearted spot, which is full of beer jokes, harks back to the ads that Hickenlooper used when he first ran for mayor of Denver — and it features some celebrity brewers in the role of supporters. They include Stone Brewing's Greg Koch (making a Russian imperial stout joke), along with Longmont-based Left Hand Brewing's Eric Wallace, Rick Wehner of Brewery Finance and others.
Hickenlooper and Jones have been friends since the early days, when the candidate was still just the unofficial mayor of LoDo. They got to talking last year about a beery video, and finally were able to make it happen earlier this month.
While the spot, which was filmed and edited by Gabriel Dohrn of Denver Film Company, won't be part of a television buy, it could be the online elixir that Hickenlooper needs to get back on track.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.