Jan 222004
Authors: Brittany Burke

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

few ideas.

“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

the week.

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.”

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