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 β€” notably grain and hops β€” 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.

ICYMI … Colorado's best breweries and beers in 2022


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