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The Colorado Brewers' Festival, first held in 1990 and continuing today began as a way to educate the public about craft brewed beer. It has grown to be part of a week-long event, held during the last week of June, known as Beer Week. The Festival, the central attraction for the event, is credited with getting the public interested in craft brewing, which led to the expansion of craft brewing in Fort Collins and the state of Colorado.


  • Colorado Brewers' Festival 1990.
photo credit: Fort Collins Downtown Business Administration
  • Colorado Brewers' Festival 2018.
photo credit: Visit Fort Collins

The first Colorado Brewers' Festival was held in Fort Collins in June of 1990 in Washington Park, here it continues to be held even today. CooperSmith’s co-founder Brad Page and the founder of Odell Brewing Co. Doug Odell first proposed the event to Downtown Fort Collins Business Association after Page visited the Oregon Brewers Festival. Beginning in 1990, the first festival was held as a way to educate newer beer drinkers and to introduce them to craft beers and brewing.

At the time of the first festival, Fort Collins was home to just three microbreweries, the state home to eleven breweries in total. The festival has been credited with exposing Coloradans to craft beer and creating an interest in beer quality and diversity. Since the first festival, the number of craft breweries in Colorado has climbed to 330, with more than 20 in the city of Fort Collins alone.

The festival today has grown into a large event dedicated to craft beer and brewing, with more than 50 Colorado breweries bringing more than 150 beers for the public to sample. This festival has certainly helped to contribute to the craft beer culture that is now pervasive in Fort Collins and the state of Colorado by educating the public about craft brewing. The two-day festival hosted more than 18,000 people this past year, and the number will likely grow as the interest in craft brews does. This festival, which celebrates beer and brewing, has helped to contribute to Fort Collins’ reputation as the ‘Napa Valley of Beer’ and will continue to do so as the event and craft beer movement continue to grow.

Wilmes, Tom. Like craft beer, Colorado Brewers' Festival going strong. Daily Camera. June 20, 2014. Accessed October 17, 2018. http://www.dailycamera.com/lifestyles/ci_25989199/colorado-brewers-festival-celebrates-25th-anniversary-fort-collins.

Fitz-Gerald, Sean. Colorado Brewers' Festival goes back to roots for 25th anniversary. Denver Post. June 25, 2014. Accessed October 18, 2018. https://www.denverpost.com/2014/06/25/colorado-brewers-festival-goes-back-to-roots-for-25th-anniversary/.

25th Colorado Brewers’ Festival Draws 18,000 Attendees. Brewbound: Craft Beer News, Events and Jobs. July 18, 2014. Accessed October 17, 2018. https://www.brewbound.com/news/25th-colorado-brewers-festival-draws-18000-attendees.