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Craft Beer Takes Flight

by Mark Wendell

Everyone already knows that Prohibition crushed the beer industry, but some may argue that Prohibition lasted fifty years longer than it actually did.  During those fifty years large breweries consolidated, destroying ‘beer diversity’ by producing industrial light lagers.  Thankfully, the beer industry has never been as diverse as it is now right now.

Small craft brewers are defined by an annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less.  They separate themselves from the larger beer industry by innovation, often taking historic styles and adding a unique twist, developing a completely new style.  The rapid growth of the craft brewing industry in 2012 was 15% by volume and 17% by dollars compared to growth in 2011 of 13% by volume and 15% by dollars.  Vermont is leading the craft brewery race by having the most breweries per capita.  (Colorado currently ranks fourth on the list and Ohio ranks thirty-second out of all fifty states.)

Designs often balance separate occupancy uses while maintaining a high level of transparency between very intimate tasting rooms and highly productive manufacturing areas.  This transparency allows all three senses to become stimulated by smelling the mash, hearing the tanks hiss, and watching the brew masters concocting innovative beers within ten feet of the bar.  Guests are meant to feel like they are part of the process and just happen to be taking a 10 minute break from brewing.

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Davis Wince, Ltd. recently completed work on the Denver Beer Co., 1695 Platte Street, Denver, Colorado. The Denver Beer Co. was established in 2011 to create a brewery to match the city’s personality. Whenever possible, they use the finest locally sourced ingredients to create beers that change with the seasons. With beer names like, “Graham Cracker Porter”, “Kaffir Lime Wheat”, and “Hey! Pumpkin”, The Denver Beer Co. needed a new look to reflect their fun, eclectic personality. The new design gets its inspiration from beer gardens in Bavaria and reflects the authentic, kicked back vibe where friends and strangers can share food and a pint.

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