Beer Man

Oskar Blues Will Roll Out Cigar City Beers in Colorado Next Week

Oskar Blues Will Roll Out Cigar City Beers in Colorado Next Week
Cigar City Brewing
Oskar Blues Brewery, which purchased Florida craft-beer darling Cigar City Brewing last year, will begin rolling out Cigar City's beers in Colorado next week. Oskar Blues and its financial backer, Fireman Capital Partners, also own Michigan's Perrin Brewing and the Squatters and Wasatch breweries, both in Utah.

Colorado is the fourth state that Cigar City has moved into since it was purchased in March 2016. In the past, Tampa-based Cigar City primarily stuck to Florida, although a few of its beers were distributed here during the weeks surrounding the Great American Beer Festival in 2015 and 2016. Cigar City can now be found in Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Colorado.

Founded in 2009 by Joey Redner, Cigar City gathered attention, cachet and awards for envelope-pushing beers like Jai Alai IPA, Marshall Zhukov Imperial Stout, Florida Cracker Belgian-Style Wit and Hunahpu's Imperial Stout, which is only released on a single day each March. Last year, with a desire for more growth, Redner entertained offers for buyouts and eventually decided to go with Oskar Blues because the two companies had a similar ethos.

"I don't like borrowing money, and we were capacity maxed, so the option was not grow anymore or do something like this," Redner told Westword shortly after the sale. "Yes, it mattered who the buyer was. Keeping ownership at some level was important to me. Working with people I am comfortable with was important, too."

He also said he was impressed by how Longmont-based Oskar Blues continued to operate independently after it was purchased by Fireman Capital Partners in 2015.

Cigar City beers have been sold at Oskar Blues's Tasty Weasel taproom for a while. - TASTY WEASEL TAPROOM
Cigar City beers have been sold at Oskar Blues's Tasty Weasel taproom for a while.
Tasty Weasel Taproom
The deal was one of many that have taken place over the past three years, ushering in a wave of change in the craft-beer industry, which has included everything from strategic mergers between breweries to buyouts by large overseas breweries to investments from private equity firms like Fireman. Anheuser Busch InBev, the maker of Bud Light, has made the most news, buying up ten formerly independent craft breweries, including Colorado's own Breckenridge Brewery and, last week, North Carolina's Wicked Weed.

In Colorado, twelve-ounce cans of Jai Alai, Maduro Brown Ale, Florida Cracker, Invasion Pale Ale and Tampa-style Lager will hit liquor stores, while Marshal Zhukov’s Penultimate Push, a Russian imperial stout with coffee and vanilla, and Margarita Gose will see limited draft distribution. (See below for a list of launch parties.)

"Cigar City will be partnering with numerous distribution partners to cover the state, including RMC Distributors, Coors Distributing Company, High Country Beverage and Mountain Beverage Co.," the companies said.

Numerous Cigar City reps will be floating around Colorado during the launch, including Cigar brewmaster Wayne Wambles and Chief Operating Officer Justin Clark.

The Cigar City launch parties are as follows:

Monday, May 15
Ale House at Amato’s
6 to 8 p.m.

Tuesday, May 16
Mayor of Old Town, Fort Collins
6 to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, May 17
Parry’s Pizza, Longmont
6 to 8 p.m.

Vail Ale House, Vail
5 to 7 p.m.

Brass Tap, Colorado Springs
6 to 8 p.m.

Thursday, May 18
Star Bar
8 to 10 p.m.

Parry’s Pizza, Northglenn
5 to 7 p.m.

Parry’s Pizza, Highlands Ranch
5 to 7 p.m.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes