Beer is big news in Fort Collins. New beer releases, expansions, and events revolving around beer are known to make the front page of the Coloradoan, our local paper. In a few weeks, our town will be celebrating Colorado Beer Week from May 11-19th in conjunction with American Craft Beer Week. In celebration, 9 local breweries are joining forces to create a collaboration brew for the second year in a row that they call “Collusion”. The purpose of brewing together is to promote collaboration, not competition. Fort Collins is the only area in the state to collaborate on this level, and I believe it is indicative of how amazing this community is in general. Unfortunately, the collaborative brew for this year has hit a bit of a legal snag, in terms of red tape. Basically, the brewery who makes the beer is the only one allowed to sell it for retail. This year, the batch is being brewed at Fort Collins Brewery. For the 8 other breweries involved, if they want to pour some of their labor in their own taproom, they must purchase the beer from Fort Collins Brewery. Last year the only exchange was in the form of ingredients to make the brew.
While reading about this issue in the Coloradoan, in an article written by their Beer, Bikes and Bands reporter, David Young, a few questions arise. It appears, according to Young, that this legal issue arose by him doing his job as reporter and covering the story. The liquor boards caught wind, felt something fishy and launched an investigation. However, in the next paragraph, Mr. Young quotes Mark Couch, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Revenue as saying in an email that this years brew is being handled legally.
So if I am reading Mr. Young’s article correctly, the State was aware of this brew and assumed that the breweries were in compliance, until they read his previous article discussing the brew. You can read that article here, and I am sure you will notice it mentions nothing of how, or how not, the legality of the brewing process worked. So how did the liquor boards catch wind of any sort of skirting of red tape? Was it your article that mentions nothing of how the beer is distributed, or was it you contacting the liquor board with questions?
I understand Mr. Young, that it is your job as a reporter to report the truth and cover all corners. I however do not understand why it is your intention to work so hard to find such negativity with this event. You even stated that you spoke with the brewers about filing proper permits and such to be in compliance, yet still continued to search for issues. It honestly doesn’t surprise me that you had to repeat multiple times in this article that phone calls and emails were not returned. This story is a joke. What was meant to be a celebration of our amazing community has been soured, and if what Mr. Couch said is true, for no reason at all. It is an amazing thing these people are doing for our community, and I am hoping your intentions were not to tear this apart just for a story.
What I personally find funny about this, besides the irony of this happening for a collaboration beer, is that Mr. Young tattled on himself in his own article. Journalism at it’s finest!
In case your curious, the brew is still going forward. Here is a Doug Smith from Fort Collins Brewery adding some Rocky Mountain snow to the boil on April 9, 2012