GOLDEN, Colo. -- The craft brewery scene is exploding across Colorado. There are now more than 350 craft breweries in the state, with others opening soon, but all of that growth also means more competition.
Holidaily Brewing Company in Golden is serving up a very unique kind of beer. The brewery opened in 2016 and is the only certified gluten-free brewery in Colorado and one of just eight in the country.
Most beers are made out of barley and wheat, but Holidaily uses buckwheat and millet. The certified gluten-free facility has a customized system using specific grains to avoid any cross contamination that might happen with a brewery brewing regular beers too.
“It provides the gluten-free people an option,” said Karen Hertz, Chief Brewista for Holidaily.“Then the gluten-free people can go to these places with their friends and their friends will drink the beer on tap from the brewers but the gluten-free person gets to have a beer too.”
Holidaily has ten beers on tap at the Golden location and distributes four beers into the Denver Metro area. The brewery is currently expanding its operations into a separate distribution facility in Golden with the expectation of opening in early 2019.
“We are finding that there is demand for us to continue distributing,” said Hertz.
The Colorado Brewers Guild (CBG) said it is hard to define the exact number of breweries in the Denver Metro with what different breweries offer and which cities are considered, but CBG estimates there are more than 65 craft breweries and brew pubs in the Denver area. In 2012 there were 120 breweries in the Colorado. Since then, the industry sky rocketed between the years of 2013 and 2016/2017, with growth continuing today.
With that growth, Colorado is also seeing brewery closures. Rising rent and labor costs along with more competition entering the market makes it hard for craft breweries to keep up and stay profitable.
“Its hard to walk into a liquor store that has 350 IPAs and to sell your own. People really have to be focused on great product in terms of what they are brewing and then coming up with, 'how do you stand out? How are you going to be different than the other breweries?'” said Hertz.
CBG said it expects to see brewery growth in areas seeing a lot of development. Odell is opening a tap room and New Belgium is opening a brewery in the River North Art District. CBG said Loveland also expects five or six breweries to open in the town this summer.