Beer Man

Offie Bottle Shop could give Denver a piece of missing beer culture

Denver is one of the best beer cities in the nation, and Colorado is perhaps the finest of the fifty states when it comes to craft breweries.

So why, wondered the two guys behind Offie Bottle Shop, don't we have a dedicated craft beer store? The answer is because Colorado laws don't allow liquor stores to pour beer like they do in great beer cities like Portland (home to Belmont Station), Philadelphia (The Bottle Shop) and Ashville, North Carolina (where Bruisin' Ale resides).

The two partners -- they asked to remain anonymous until the store opens because they both still have day jobs -- put together a business plan for Offie, which they hope to open by the end of the year in the Golden Triangle neighborhood.

And while Offie wouldn't be a beer-only shop like those in other cities, or even a craft beer-only store, microbrews would definitely be the focus. "In an ideal world, if we could pull off just a beer bottle shop, we would, but it is very difficult because we can't have taps," says one of the partners. "So, to make it work, we have to have the Buds and Millers and Coors, and select wine and spirits. But our focus is on the craft community."

Of course, there are plenty of liquor stores in Denver with huge selections of craft beers, but Offie would be a little different because it would sell beers as singles in an effort to get as many kinds as possible into the cooler -- something that many bottle shops do.

The partners, who are still raising money from investors, also plan to have two beer tastings per week and to feature a lot of information about beer and food pairings.

The name, by the way, comes from British slang for a liquor store.

Denver could definitely use a bottle shop. It would be a great addition to the city's beer culture and one that would help us compete with cities like Portland.

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