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.