Beer Man

Denver County Fair's planned Beer Pavilion goes up in smoke; Pot Pavilion doubles in size

There's been a lot of talk in Colorado over the past six months about whether legal pot sales will impact beer sales, but so far -- at least based on the continuing success of the state's ever-expanding craft-brewing industry -- that doesn't seem to be happening.

But pot will definitely displace beer at one big event this summer: The Denver County Fair has canceled its planned Beer Pavilion in favor of a super-sized Pot Pavilion -- one that has made national headlines, says fair co-founder Dana Cain.

See also: Welcome to Colorful Colorado: Pot is coming to the Denver County Fair in 2014

"Originally, the Beer Pavilion and the Pot Pavilion were going to be side by side on the over-21 floor," notes Cain.

But the reasons for the change had more to do with the venue than the vice: The liquor license at the National Western Complex is owned by K-M Concessions, which gets to make all the decisions about what beer is sold there. That complication busted plans for a Beer Pavilion, although Cain promises that she is working with K-M so that there will still be plenty of craft beer on hand -- some for sale and some for sampling.

And the situation worked out to the fair's benefit, since the Pot Pavilion has become the headliner at the event, which kicks off August 1.

"They say that everything happens for a reason, which is kind of a dumb saying. But I do like to evoke it when it seems to fit," Cain says.

After all, there will still be a home-brew competition, as there has been at the past two fairs, she notes, and despite the Beer Pavilion drying up, the craft-beer aspect of the fair will be larger than before, she insists.

"The beer is ramping up. Not as much as we thought and wanted, but there will be more beer and more varieties for sampling and for purchase."

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes