Colorado passes California in beer production

Colorado became the nation’s top beer-producing state in 2006, the first time it has led the nation since 1990.

Primarily because of production at the very large Coors Brewing and Anheuser-Busch facilities in northern Colorado, the state’s brewers made more than 23.3 million barrels of beer according to the Beer Institute.

“It’s true that most of that volume is from Coors and Anheuser-Busch, a very high percentage of it,” said Doug Odell, president of the board of directors of the Colorado Brewers Guild. “But I think the real story is that there are a hundred other breweries in the state of Colorado contributing a great variety of beer styles and beer flavors.”

Odell is an owner and brewmaster of Odell Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, home to fast-growing New Belgium Brewing.

“Our first full year (1989) we sold about 900 barrels,” Odell said. “This year we are going to sell about 39,000.”