Beer Man

Rockies Home Opener: Left Hand, Upslope Breweries in Coors Field for the First Time

Coors Field is surrounded by independent craft breweries — there are more than a dozen within a one-mile radius of the ballpark. But inside, the story has been very different. Although Coors Field is home to the only working brewery at a Major League stadium, Blue Moon Brewing at the Sandlot, that brewery is owned and operated by Coors, which is hardly a craft brewer. In addition, craft offerings on the concourses have traditionally been few and far between. After all, the stadium is named for a mega-brewer.

That began to change two seasons ago, when Coors Field added the Oskar Blues-owned concept ChuBurger to its new, right-field party deck, known as the Rooftop, which serves two Oskar Blues beers. The Tavern also has a location on the Rooftop, where it also pours craft beer.

And this year, Coors Field and Aramark — which runs all of the food and beverage vending operations inside the stadium — will welcome one selection each from two breweries that have never been served at the ballpark before: Left Hand in Longmont and Upslope Brewing in Boulder.

“I think Aramark recognized that the general fan was ready for something new besides the three to five Colorado breweries that have been the only options, especially considering Colorado is at the forefront of the craft movement,” says Todd Luther, Colorado sales manager for CR Goodman, a distributor that handles Left Hand, Upslope and some other local craft breweries. “In the past, I think it was easier for Aramark to just deal with a few distributors, but we got in front of one of the guys at Aramark, and he is pushing them to expand what the stadium can be.”

Colorado residents drink a lot of craft beer — there are more than 320 breweries in the state — and they have been asking for more options at Coors Field, Luther adds. 

Bottles of Left Hand’s Sawtooth Ale and cans of Upslope’s IPA will now be sold at the four Colorado Craft kiosks on the main concourse at Coors Field, along with a couple of the Beers of the World kiosks. In the past, those spots have also featured single offerings from Oskar Blues, Odell, Great Divide, New Belgium and a few out-of-state breweries, like Boston Beer Company.

"What is really exciting, too, is that they are willing to reassess in a month and see if we can put more of our beer in or change it up," Luther adds. 
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes