Breweries of all sizes call Fort Collins home and the residents
and business owners of this city are loyal to the local beers.
“Fort Collins is very loyal to local breweries,” said Doug
Odell, the owner of Odell Brewing Company, 800 Lincoln Avenue. “We
give to the community and they give back to us.”
According to www.ftcollins.com, Fort Collins has the most
microbreweries per capita in Colorado. Although Odell doesn’t know
the exact reason for the boom of breweries in Fort Collins he has a
“We weren’t thinking of the water (when we decided to move to
Fort Collins),” Odell said. “But the water here is very pure and
doesn’t need to be filtered like it might in other breweries.”
Odell also credited CSU students as being a possible reason.
Odell said those 21 to 29 in age are their highest consumers and
therefore help with business.
Odell established his brewery in Nov. 1989 because Odell and his
wife wanted to start a brewery in a smaller town.
“We wanted to be somewhere people are proud to live,” Odell
said. “Fort Collins turned out to be the right choice.”
Odell’s makes many beers. With the capacity of over 30,000
barrels annually they send beer to stores, restaurants and taverns
in Colorado as well as Wyoming, Kansas, New Mexico, Montana,
Nebraska and South Dakota.
Odell’s offers tours of their brewery to the public throughout
Although Odell’s Brewery competes for business with many other
breweries in the area, Doug Odell doesn’t think about it as
“(Brewing) is so individualistic,” Odell said. “Everyone has a
different way of doing it. No way is better or worse.”
New Belgium, another local brewery larger in size than Odell’s,
also feels the same rapport with Odell’s.
“It’s a funny relationship,” said Greg Owsley, the marketing
director at New Belgium. “They are probably our biggest competition
but we also have a great respect and appreciation of their
New Belgium, 500 Linden Street, first began in the basement of
Jeff Lebesch in 1991 and has now grown to produce 287,000 barrels
in 2003 according to Owsley.
Owsley’s reasoning for the number of breweries in Fort Collins
starts with the water and ends with the people.
“We have great beer fans in Colorado,” Owsley said. “People love
their beer and we have quite a love affair with Fort Collins.”
Owsley also said the central location of Fort Collins allows New
Belgium to transport their beers easier than other locations.
New Belgium offers tours during regular business hours.
Although New Belgium and Odells are the largest local breweries
in Fort Collins, a few brewpubs make their own beer to serve to
their loyal customers.
Fort Collins Brewery, 1900 E. Lincoln Ave., started brewing just
last year and is trying a different niche with lagers.
“We are aiming at more sophisticated beer drinkers,” said Janet
Scott, one of the owners.
Although the operation at Fort Collins Brewery is much smaller
than New Belgium or Odells, Scott still believes her brewery is in
“We might be the small guy,” Scott said. “But we are in a beer
town and of course we are in competition with others selling
Fort Collins Brewery gives tours when time is available but
tastings can be done at anytime on Monday through Thursday.
Another small brewery is Big Horn Brewery, 1415 W. Elizabeth
Street. This brewery holds a 15-barrel operation and tours are
available by appointment. The Regional Brew master, Kirk Lombardi
and his brother are the only brewers.
“(Tours) are really a custom deal,” Lombardi said. “It’s really
just what people are interested in.”
Tastings are often given due to Lombardi’s discretion.
Coopersmith’s, #5 Old Town Square, has been brewing beer for 14
and a half years according to Ted Devitt, the general manager.
This pub and pool house houses a nine-barrel operation, making
about 2,000 barrels a year, in comparison to the 287,000 barrels
that New Belgium produced in 2003 and 7.9 million barrels
Anheuser-Busch produced and shipped in 2003.
Anheuser-Busch, 2351 Busch Drive, calls Fort Collins home to one
of its five breweries. Free tours are available seasonally.
Currently, tours can be taken Thursday through Monday. Each tour
covers about a mile and lasts approximately an hour and a half.
Coopersmith’s offers tours depending on availability. Those who
tour the small brewery are allowed to do tastings of several beers.
Devitt understands the ways of breweries and business but seems to
think there is a place for everyone.
“Of course we are in competition with everyone,” Devitt said.
“Obviously we are the little guys down the street in comparison to
Budweiser. We make a different kind of beer than them but there is
definitely a market for both of us.”