Beer Man

Hickenlooper's New Ad Targets His Liquid Base: America's Craft Brewers

Hickenlooper's New Ad Targets His Liquid Base: America's Craft Brewers
Denver Film Company
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.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes