14 breweries form Craft Beer Colorado, split from the Colorado Brewers Guild *Updated*


UPDATE: John Carlson, Executive Director of the Colorado Brewers Guild, has sent out this letter to current Guild members.

Dear Brewery Members,
We are disappointed some of our members have elected to establish another organization as an alternate voice for the Colorado brewer. With the explosive growth of craft beer and the current legislative and regulatory issues before us, now is not the time to diminish our efforts but to strengthen them. Doing otherwise will result in less than optimal results. Multiple trade associations for Colorado craft beer will only confuse legislators and regulators, especially if they have different or competing asks. There is strength in numbers and we have the numbers. A strengthened Guild is the best way to remain an effective force in the industry.
Success - we have had many successes and are building momentum including more transparency, accountability, member out-reach, and additional communication. We have a demonstrated track record of success on legislative and regulatory matters including spent brewers grains, tasting room licensure, state health department inspections, strong federal delegation support, state tourism grants, enhanced marketing efforts, attractive merchandise, and beer education. In addition, we provide a quick reaction force for specific member needs based on the situation at hand.
New Changes - we recently announced the selection of a full-time executive director and the implementation of a schedule of additional Guild meetings throughout the year. Staff is beginning work to make these things happen. We are evolving based on the needs and desires of the greater membership.
Guild Election - the upcoming Guild election will provide Guild members an opportunity to refresh the Board. Please vote. Working with staff, the newly elected Board will revise our strategic plan. Once that plan has buy-in from the membership it will be executed by the Director and staff. Since our membership is wide and varied some compromise may be required. We should be mindful that a vocal minority should not chart the direction of the entire organization. The Articles and By-laws can be changed regarding membership qualifications, but it requires the membership to vote. As the industry changes, we have looked to other organizations as a reference point and have before our members a question on the ballot to update our Articles and By-Laws to reflect their collective interests. Participation in the electoral process is the key to success. We have a field of ten excellent people to fill four open positions. The Director serves at the pleasure of the Board and always has. If the Board feels a change in direction is desired the Director defers to the Board.
Inclusive - the Guild has always strived to be inclusive, and we support all efforts to better support all of our brewery members. As we work with policymakers and the Liquor Enforcement Division to implement the latest legislative compromise, we look forward to learning about what other legislative agendas might be put forth, and will work together to better Colorado, the state of craft beer.
Advocacy - as our collective resources and member interest in policy and regulatory matters have increased, we have evolved. This is a continuous process and is a collective effort of engagement with multiple views culminating in the best direction for the organization as a whole.
Participation - we strive to be transparent and always value member interest in industry and Guild matters. Communicating complex matters to a wide audience is always a challenge but we know it is paramount to our mission. Every member must feel they have the opportunity to be heard and contribute regardless of their brewery size or license type. To effectively engage, we encourage our members to participate in Guild meetings, activities, committees, and the Board.
We believe in a positive, open, and participatory organization the serves the collective good of our membership. We have worked hard to promote these principles and will continue to do so. We value the input of others and want to move forward together for Colorado, the state of craft beer.

In some rather shocking news, our friend Tristan over at PorchDrinking dropped a bomb that 14 members of the Colorado Brewers Guild would be splitting off to form Craft Beer Colorado.Here's what we know so far. PorchDrinking obtained this letter announcing the split to the Colorado Brewers Guild Board of Directors: OpenLetterToCBGOpenLetterToCBG-Part-2Here is Craft Beer Colorado's Articles of Incorporation, filed with the Secretary of State at a little after noon on Friday by Kim Jordan of New Belgium. From what we can tell, this has been in the works "officially" since the end of May, when Brad Lincoln of Funkwerks filed a Statement of Reservation of Name for the "Colorado Craft Brewers Guild," and ultimately, they decided to call the new guild Craft Beer Colorado.

The names included on this announcement letter are some of the big names in Colorado's brewing industry. We here at Focus on the beer are truly excited to see where this new guild helps take Colorado's craft beer industry.Reasons for the split included in the above letter are:

  1. We need legislative and regulatory leadership and vision. Historically the CBG has reacted to changes; we need a proactive agenda.
  2. There has been, for many years in the CBG, a culture of information control and director behavior that is the opposite of transparent. This is not healthy for our trade association and we are no longer willing to condone this management style.
  3. With the changing landscape of craft where multinational brewers are buying craft brewers and blurring the lines, our by-laws and articles of incorporation don’t reflect what we believe to be membership’s wishes.

If the Colorado Brewers Guild is as broken as the aforementioned letter suggests, we expect to see more breweries joining this new movement in the coming months. As we hear of developments, we'll keep you updated as usual.What does this mean for consumers? Hopefully, you will not see a change at the retail level, but there will be more than likely be some shakeups when it comes to some Brewers Guild events.We're wondering how consumer favorite events like Salida's Brewers Rendezvous or Bristol's Firkin Rendezvous will play out in the coming year.Onwards and upwards!