Beer Man

The Mercury Cafe reduces its carbon hoofprint by serving only Wynkoop Brewing beer

The Mercury Café isn't known for its beer-drinking masses. Tango dancing, slam poetry, organic snacks? Definitely. Beer? Not so much.

But the thirty-plus-year-old club/cafe/community gathering place nevertheless sells more beer made by Wynkoop Brewing than any other place in town - aside from the Wynkoop itself. It beats out the Wazee Supper Club and the Goosetown Tavern (which are both owned by the Wynkoop), Falling Rock Taphouse and the Rackhouse Pub.

The reason, says Merc owner Marilyn Megenity, is because she'll only sell Wynkoop beer. And she only sells Wynkoop beer because the brewery delivers it themselves directly from where they brew it.

"They're our neighbor and I love them," says Megenity, who drives a vegetable oil-powered car and only serves beer and wine from kegs because the production of cans and bottles -- as well as the recycling of those containers -- creates too much pollution.

"I love Great Divide, too, and they're our neighbor. But they ship their beer to a distributor in Aurora and then ship it back," she says, adding that while a lot of barley for beer is grown in Colorado, it's typically shipped to Canada to be malted and then sent back. "I believe we've got to quit shipping food around the country."

The Merc has twelve tap handles pouring eight varieties of Wynkoop beer, and it typically goes through three to six kegs per week, Megenity says.

And Wynkoop's delivery is even better now that the brewery has started using a horse and carriage to drop off its suds to several downtown accounts.

"It's so nice to be around the horses. They come right down the alley," she says. "It's just one more way to sever ties with the petroleum gangsters."

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