Dec 20, 2023 - Food and Drink

What to watch from Colorado breweries in 2024

Animated illustration of a beer can with arms and legs walking in front of some fizzing beer.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Expect more turbulent times for Colorado's breweries — and a few bright spots heading into next year.

What to know: That's the outlook from industry players who say in John's annual beer of the year survey that the challenges of operating a craft brewery will continue, even as new ones land on the map.

  • Take a look at the top trends in craft beer — and the breweries to watch in 2024.

Top beer trend in 2023

Lagered beer had its moment in 2023, and craft brewers pushed the limits on this centuries-old style.

The light-bodied and crisp style was the top trend as breweries debuted plenty of lagers, pilsners and other cold-fermented beers.

  • The popularity of Cold IPAs — which are in fact a lager hopped like an IPA — led the way with hop-forward pilsners also becoming popular.

Of note: Nonalcoholic beer and hop water also emerged as key trends, along with the industry's slowing sales.

Top beer trend for 2024

Beer makers and industry pros expect to see more closures of small breweries in 2024, along with consolidation to keep brands on the cusp of closure alive.

What we're watching: This trend dominated the end of 2023 in Colorado, and insiders expect it to continue as competition and price pressures make it harder to survive.

  • Craft maltster Emily Olander says "we'll see more brewery alliances and consolidations" as well as "breweries looking for ways to better differentiate themselves from a crowded market."

Breweries to watch

The tough landscape won't prevent breweries from opening or expanding in 2024.

What's happening: The opening of the international beer maker Brewdog's taproom in Denver, along with expansions from homegrown brewers including Trve, Prost, and Westbound & Down, are expected to make a splash.

The intrigue: The public debut of Amalgam Brewing — which made exclusive brews for members for years — through its partnership with Bierstadt Lagerhaus is exciting beer lovers.

  • And new breweries — Bent Barley, Live Slow, Monolith and Wanderment — are generating early buzz ahead of the new year.

ICYMI: Colorado's best breweries and beers of 2023

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