Nov 302008
Authors: Sean Reed

Nearly every community in the world can be summed up in one word.

Unfortunately for CSU, Fort Collins is not defined by “university,” “Ram” or even “football.” No, if one word captured the heart and soul of the “Choice City” it would be “beer.”

And things are only getting more exciting for beer in our lovely community.

On Friday, the Denver Post reported that Fort Collins’ flagship New Belgium Brewery has entered into a venture agreement with Seattle-based Elysian Brewing Company to “share their breweries with each other.”

The partnership, started in August, will allow each brewer to brew the others’ products, experiment with creating new concoctions and, most importantly, expand their respective distribution.

As of now, Elysian, which has a much more limited brewing infrastructure than its partner, has not yet attempted to brew any of New Belgium’s beers in large quantities.

New Belgium, on the other hand, has already produced Elysian’s Immortal India Pale Ale, Night Owl Pumpkin Ale and Bifrost Winter Ale. Of course, the Fort Collins brewer had to adjust the recipe to account for the difference in altitude, equipment and brewing style.

Still, according to the Denver Post, officials from both companies said the difference between the Elysian and New Belgium version of these brews was so negligible that “only professional brewers could tell even the slightest difference.”

In fact, the New Belgium Elysian brews are so good that some have even been shipped to East Coast vendors, which has saved Elysian the trouble of about 1,000 miles of shipping distance.

This 1,000 miles that trucks won’t have to drive to deliver Elysian’s products means there are fewer carbon emissions created to get the beer to its drinkers, which, for a company as well known for its commitment to the environment as New Belgium, is a big factor behind the partnership. Of course, the money each company will save by using the shipping resources of the other doesn’t hurt, either.

Currently, New Belgium offers a taste of Elysian’s IPA on its brewery tour, but is not yet authorized to sell any of the Seattle brewery’s products until it acquires a license to do so. However, according to officials, this license is in the works and everything should be set in the near future.

Following this, further distribution in the state of Colorado of New Belgium-made Elysian products will follow. For Colorado, this means a wider beer selection and lower prices than if Elysian products were shipped from their home base in Seattle.

In addition, next month, a group from New Belgium will visit Elysian headquarters to experiment with new brews and to get acquainted with their equipment.

More knowledge about different equipment and brewing styles can only mean a more diverse selection on the end of the beer drinker. And who can argue with more beer?

The Denver Post speculates that should this partnership flourish, “commercial-scale cross brewing initiatives” among smaller scale brewers could likely proliferate to cut both shipping and brewing costs, as well as carbon emissions.

Does this mean we can look forward to similar partnerships between other local brewer O’Dell and, say, Pennsylvania-based Erie Brewing Company? Probably not. But maybe.

Hopefully, the New Belgium-Elysian model leads to success and other brewers follow suit. After all, in these trying economic times, more beer can only be a good thing.

Editorials Editor Sean Reed is a senior political science major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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