Beverage Production

Big-league growth on tap in beverage industry

The region has a long history as a leader in beverage production, particularly in America’s craft beer revolution. The MillerCoors Brewery in Golden is synonymous with Colorado and was founded in Golden in 1873. In addition, one of the nation’s largest herbal-tea manufacturers calls the region home, as well as both large and small breweries, soft drink manufacturers, and numerous wineries and distilleries.

The Metro Denver region ranks second out of the 50 largest metro areas in beverage production employment concentration in 2016, up one position from the prior year.

Metro Denver Beverage Production Snapshot
Direct Employment 9,300
Companies 210
Five-Year Employment Growth (2011-2016) 28.1% (28.8%)
One-Year Employment Growth (2016) 7.5% (8.3%)
Direct Employment Concentration (2016) 0.4% (0.2%)
Average Wage $59,880
Employment Concentration Ranking (Among 50 largest metros) 2

The region is a top beverage production location, offering: 

  1. Established infrastructure and burgeoning consumer base
    Colorado ranked third nationally in total craft breweries (284), breweries per capita (7.3 per 100,000 legal-age residents), and total barrels of craft beer produced annually (1.8 million). (Brewers Association, 2016)  

    Five Metro Denver microbreweries were ranked among the nation’s largest by beer sales volume in 2015. New Belgium ranked fourth, followed by Oskar Blues Brewery (21st), Odell Brewing Co. (32nd), Left Hand Brewing Co. (39th), and Breckenridge Brewery (47th). (Brewers Association, 2016)  

    The region is home to numerous beverage and craft beer festivals. The national Brewer’s Association, located in Boulder, hosts the annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. The GABF is one of the largest commercial beer competitions and beer festivals in the world. 

  2. A pro-business environment and a competitive tax structure
    Colorado has the fifth-lowest beer excise tax and fourth-lowest distilled spirit tax in the nation. (The Tax Foundation, 2016) 
  3. An overall better quality of life
    Denver ranked No. 1 among U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 “Best Places to Live.” Denver’s healthy job market and access to the outdoors contributed to its notable rank. (U.S. News & World Report, 2016) 

    Metro Denver’s moderate temperatures, low humidity, and sunshine on almost 70 percent of the days each year provide an ideal climate for residents.
    (U. S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climatic Data Center, 2016) 

The region’s higher education system custom programs in place to prepare the beverage production industry workforce, including:

Plus, numerous industry groups have set up shop in the region to support the burgeoning beverage production industry.