GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.; (KKCO) – The beer industry is growing in Colorado.
“We live in a magical place. The micro climate between here, Delta, and Hotchkiss and Paonia, is perfect for growing just about anything. And hops is not excluded on that,” said Jerry Sica, Crossroads Wine and Spirits.
“Yeah, it seems to be a good place to grow hops. They grew hops back here in the valley back in the 60s,” said David Pinnt, owner of Palisade Organic Hops Farm.
All of the hops Pinnt grows this season will be dedicated to Colorado Native, a beer that is all made with all Colorado ingredients.
“We are sold solely in Colorado, and we plan to stay that way for a while. And we are only as big as our materials are. And we are using every last hop grown in Colorado right now to make Colorado Native," said Cody Butters, a district manager for AC Golden Brewing Company.
Pinnt is hoping to complete an organic certification for his farm soon. There are signs posted along the perimeter prohibiting spraying, and the noticeable presence of insects that are absent from conventional farms. The hope is that organic hops lead to more organic beers.
“Yes, we would love to be all organic. As David knows it’s really hard to do. And just with the lack of organic hops in the area we can’t do the all organic thing. But we’re pretty close,” said Butters.
“You know the slow food movement, you know, it says try to acquire local foods, and, and eat slower. That kind of thing. I, I think beer production is the same kind of thing," said Daniel Collins, owner of Kettles Homebrew Supply.
The increase in beer production in Colorado and on the Western Slope specifically could grow with the annual Grand Valley Beer Festival in Grand Junction.
"All of a sudden now, thanks to the beer festival last year, we've had a tremendous growth in our craft beer market. Even the lowliest member of the staff has an opinion about craft beer in this store," said Sica.
"I think uh, the more people are educated about it the more they understand about beer, I think the more you're going to find these events occurring. So it is becoming more popular. You know, there's a lot of different ways to use hops, and there's some real, real creative ways of getting hops into beers these days. So it's pretty neat," said Collins.
For more information about the Grand Valley Beer Festival, visit grandvalleybeerfestival.com.