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Beer prices continue to rise in Colorado despite decrease in inflation

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Posted at 4:56 PM, Jan 12, 2023

DENVER — While the country is seeing a decrease in inflation on some products, the price of beer continues to rise.

“In fact, beer was running counter a little bit to overall inflation. So while overall inflation came down in the December numbers, which was great to see, we're actually seeing beer prices accelerate slightly nationally, and they reached a new high at 8.6% away from home,” said Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association.

Watson said the association is hearing from a lot of brewers who are absorbing some of the price increases.

“Even when the prices do go up, those are often far less than the ingredient cost increases breweries have seen over the last year,” Watson said.

Jordan Fink, owner and director of brewery operations at Woods Boss Brewing Company in Denver, said his brewery is doing everything it can to lessen inflation’s impact on their bottom line.

“We are constantly looking for ways to save money, cut costs, get more efficient. I mean, the one real avenue to us is to increase production so that we're selling more beer. We've recently gotten more into distribution, packaging our beer,” Fink said. “But our business model is based around taproom sales and folks coming in and having a good time.”

For Darren Boyd, production manager at Spangalang Brewery, inflation is just the latest challenge to hit his brewery.

“Coming out of COVID right now, it's really become, it is something of a, you know, perfect storm,” Boyd said.

Boyd said Spangalang is pivoting to make up for the increase in costs.

“We can adjust certain types of beers that we make… that might drive us towards lower alcohol beers, which happens to coincide with the trends right now,” Boyd said. “There's other things that we've started to do, include being more cognizant of how we use our yeast.”

Boyd said half the fun of making craft beer is trying new things, but customers are noticing the price of a pint isn’t what it used to be.

“Craft beer is a bit of a luxury. So, you know, we know that we're sort of on the chopping block when people are looking at what they're spending,” Boyd said.

Fink and Boyd said while many breweries have closed, theirs remain open thanks to their loyal customers. But beer isn’t recession proof.

“The small local, independent taproom-focused craft breweries, you know, we're all trying to navigate it as best we can,” Fink said.

Fink and Boyd said that includes doing everything they can to make sure customers keep coming to their breweries.