Grimm not allowed to pour at Loveland Corn Roast Festival

In its 30th year, the Loveland Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Corn Roast Festival. Touted as an old fashioned festival with music, contests and a beer garden. However, this year the beer garden has a bit of controversy. High Country Beverage, a local Northern Colorado beverage distributor who represents brands like Coors, Heineken and a small increasing number of craft brands such as New Belgium, has ousted local brewery Grimm Brothers Brewhouse. Claiming it as a “labeling issue” on a Facebook post, Grimm announced just hours before the festival was going to begin that they will not be pouring their beer. In an email conversation with beer Evangelist Russell Fruits from Grimm Brothers, it was High Country Beverage who made the decision to not allow them to attend the event as they, basically, do not want any advertising other than their own in the beer garden. By federal law all beer needs to labeled, with name and brewery, and High Country is considering this labeling as advertising. To me it seems they just do not want any competition from an incredibly popular local favorite. At the Loveland loves BBQ, Bands, and Brews event last month, the line at the Grimm Brothers tent wrapped around the stage area, while domestic tents stood near empty.  Any business person would want to avoid that if they can, and High Country found a way, by telling Grimm they either need to violate federal law, or leave. I say shame on the Loveland Chamber of Commerce for not supporting a local business that has become such cornerstone in their community, including winning their Small Business of the Year Award . I for one, will not be heading to the Corn Fest, but rather to the Grimm Brothers taproom to enjoy a great local beer.

Update: It didn’t take long for the Chamber to realize they had made a big mistake and to repeal the decision they made to not let Grimm pour. However, I still am upset that it even came down to have to repeal a decision as it shouldn’t have been an issue in the first place. Just because one company has deeper pockets than another does not give them the right to shut out another. It is my personal opinion that the decision was changed only to avoid a public backlash, which was already occurring just minutes after the first decision was made. I am glad Grimm was able to participate in an event in their own community, but will still not be supporting the Corn Roast Festival.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Grimm not allowed to pour at Loveland Corn Roast Festival

  1. Looks like the Loveland CoC caught enough flak from this that Grimm will be allowed to serve at the festival.

    • That sure was a quick reversal of their decision. A smart decision to avoid a pr nightmare. I am also disappointed that it even had to result in a situation like this.

  2. Glad to hear Grimm will be allowed to serve, we had their beers and met Aaron at a beer fest a couple of weeks ago; nice guy and great beer.

    This is yet another example of big beer and their dirty tactics. There have been a few community festivals that we’ve been to where the local craft beer was locked out due to underhanded tactics by AB/InBev and/or their distributors.

    • Matt

      Will,
      The reason you can attend these festivals is because beer companies and distributors pay thousands of dollars to pour there. How do you think free festivals exist? Money pixies fly down and bless a town with a free event?
      If a brewery wants to pour, great…pay the same as everyone else for the “right” to pour there. I really like Grimm Brothers…they do a great job…but them being nice guys, doesn’t make your free festivals self sufficient.

      • So because High Country can afford to pay a much larger rate they should be allowed to shut out the little guys?

      • That is not completely true. I know from experience that smaller distributors and breweries get shoved out.

        Case in point: There is a small festival we’ve attended for years down in New Orleans where Abita was the beer sponsor. Then a couple of years ago AB/InBev through so much money at the festival organizers that they could not (or would not) pass it up, even to the outcry from those in the community. People we talked to who volunteer for the event told us that they sold maybe a quarter of the beer they did in previous years, but since the initial ‘contribution’ from AB/InBev and their distributor was so high, it was a wash.

        There are a couple of small community festivals here in Denver where the exact same thing went on. So instead of supporting local breweries, businesses that contribute far more to the communities they reside in, people are getting greedy and big beer is pushing its swill while beer drinkers are losing out.

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