Jan 5, 2023 - Business

What breweries and trends to watch in Colorado craft beer for 2023

Animated illustration of four different kinds of beers.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

How the precarious state of the economy affects Colorado craft brewers is top of mind in the industry entering 2023.

Driving the news: That's abundantly clear in Axios Denver's annual survey of brewers, beer pros and consumers.

  • The outlook for breweries is clouded by signs of slower sales and cost-cutting, the survey found.

Breweries to watch: Left Hand and Prost

What do these breweries have in common? They recently expanded or announced near-term plans to do so, and they are defying the economic headwinds with major business bets.

Longmont's Left Hand just opened a massive taproom in Denver, while Prost is establishing a new headquarters and biergarten in Northglenn.

  • And you can add to the list Boulder's Sanitas, which is opening a second location in Englewood; Denver's Westfax, which is expanding to Colorado Springs; Broomfield's 4 Noses, which is eying a Denver taproom; and Cerebral, which is expanding to a second location in Aurora.

What to watch: How the breweries manage expansions and whether it works for the bottom line will serve as a test for craft beer's staying power and business model, experts say.

Trend to watch: A move to drinkable, cheaper beers

A push toward lighter, lower-calorie beers is nothing new, but industry experts suggest the economic conditions will make them the top trend in 2023.

  • The emergence of easier drinking lagers and even cold IPAs has gained steam for years and continues as consumers shun high prices.
  • And the cost of ingredients — notably grain and hops — is expected to limit big double-dry-hopped IPAs and other beers with expensive adjunct additions.

Of note: More than a few industry pros are growing tired of the ubiquitous rotational hazy IPAs and want to see less repackaging of similar beers with slightly different hop additions.

ICYMIColorado's best breweries and beers in 2022

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