Is Great Divide a Craft Beer?

So, you've probably heard the buzz surrounding Great Divide Brewing Co. and its place in the craft beer world. With the craft beer market continually evolving, it's no surprise that there's some debate about whether Great Divide still fits the traditional definition of a craft brewery.

You may be surprised to learn that despite its size and widespread availability, Great Divide is still considered a craft beer brewery by many standards. But what exactly makes a brewery a 'craft' brewery, and how does Great Divide measure up?

Let's take a closer look at the factors that come into play when determining whether Great Divide is, indeed, a craft beer.

Key Takeaways

  • Craft beer is defined as beer brewed by independent breweries using traditional methods and high-quality ingredients.
  • Great Divide Brewing Company is considered a craft beer brewery by many standards.
  • Great Divide specializes in brewing strong beers with an alcohol content exceeding 7%.
  • The brewery offers a diverse range of core, seasonal, and specialty beers, including collaborations with homebrewers and other establishments.

Craft Beer Defined

Craft beer, often defined as beer brewed by independent breweries using traditional methods and high-quality ingredients, has gained popularity for its diverse and flavorful offerings. When considering craft beer, the Great Divide Brewing Company stands out as an exemplary representative of this movement.

Situated in Denver, Colorado, this independent brewery has solidified its position as one of the oldest and largest packaging breweries in the area. What sets Great Divide apart is its specialization in brewing strong beers with an alcohol content exceeding 7%, often boasting long-flavored, complex 'big' beers.

Great Divide's core beers showcase their commitment to excellence, featuring a diverse range that includes Hazy India Pale Ale, Yeti Imperial Stout, Strawberry Rhubarb Sour Ale, and Titan India Pale Ale, among others. Moreover, their seasonal and specialty offerings such as Orabelle Belgian Style Ale, Hoss Oktoberfest Lager, and the Experimental IPA demonstrate their dedication to crafting unique and innovative brews. The brewery's collaboration with homebrewers and other establishments further cements its status as a craft beer pioneer.

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In essence, Great Divide Brewing Company encapsulates the essence of craft beer, embodying the principles of independence, traditional brewing methods, and high-quality ingredients that define this flourishing industry.

Great Divide's Brewing Practices

Great Divide Brewing Company's commitment to excellence in crafting exceptional ales with bold character and distinctiveness naturally extends to its meticulous brewing practices, reflecting its dedication to producing strong beers with unique flavors and complexity.

The Divide Brewery prides itself on its focus on strong beers, with an alcohol content exceeding 7%, ensuring long-lasting flavor and depth.

One of the notable aspects of Great Divide's brewing practices is its emphasis on barrel-aged beers. This process involves aging beers in wooden barrels, which infuses them with unique flavors, aromas, and complexities, setting them apart from traditionally brewed beers. This technique allows the brewery to create beers that possess a distinct character and depth, appealing to craft beer enthusiasts seeking something beyond the ordinary.

The brewery's commitment to producing these strong and intricately flavored beers has been a key factor in its growth and success. With the opening of a new facility in 2008, which tripled its production, Great Divide has further solidified its position as a leading producer of craft beers, underscoring its dedication to serving a wider customer base with exceptional, carefully crafted brews.

Industry Evolution and Craft Beer

In the evolving landscape of the beer industry, the emergence and proliferation of craft breweries have sparked a renaissance in beer culture, redefining the standards of quality, innovation, and diversity in brewing practices. This shift has led to several noteworthy developments in the industry evolution:

  1. Market Fragmentation: The beer market has become increasingly fragmented, with a growing number of craft breweries offering diverse and innovative products. This has provided consumers with a wide array of choices, leading to heightened competition and a greater emphasis on quality.
  2. Consumer Education: As craft breweries continue to gain prominence, consumers have become more educated about beer styles, ingredients, and brewing techniques. This has cultivated a more discerning consumer base that seeks out unique and high-quality products.
  3. Sustainability and Locality: Craft breweries have placed a strong emphasis on sustainability and locality, sourcing ingredients locally and implementing eco-friendly practices. This has resonated with environmentally conscious consumers, driving the demand for ethically produced beers.
  4. Innovation and Experimentation: Craft breweries have become hubs of innovation and experimentation, pushing the boundaries of traditional brewing. This has resulted in the creation of bold and distinctive flavors, appealing to adventurous consumers seeking novel taste experiences.
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The industry evolution has undeniably been shaped by the proliferation of craft breweries, ushering in an era of diversity, quality, and innovation.

Great Divide's Independence

Independently pioneering the craft beer scene in Denver since its establishment in 1994, Great Divide Brewing Co. has established itself as one of the oldest and most prominent packaging breweries in the city. Great Divide's independence is a core aspect of its identity, setting it apart from many other breweries that have been acquired by larger conglomerates in recent years. This independence allows Great Divide to maintain complete control over its brewing processes, recipes, and business decisions, ensuring that its commitment to quality and innovation remains unwavering.

In an industry where acquisitions and mergers have become increasingly common, Great Divide's dedication to remaining independent speaks to its commitment to preserving its original ethos and creative freedom. This independence has enabled the brewery to continue pushing boundaries and producing a diverse range of bold and distinctive beers, without compromising on its core values. Furthermore, it has allowed Great Divide to maintain strong connections with the local community, fostering a sense of authenticity and trust among its loyal customer base.

Great Divide's independence isn't only a testament to its resilience and commitment to craft brewing but also a reflection of its unwavering dedication to producing exceptional, uncompromised beer experiences.

Conclusion: Craft Beer Status

Craft beer status at Great Divide Brewing Co. is a topic of ongoing discussion within the brewing community due to its independent ethos and commitment to producing high-quality, innovative brews. When evaluating its craft beer status, it's essential to consider the following:

  1. Independence and Innovation: Great Divide's independence as an established brewery allows it to maintain a strong focus on creativity and innovation. This is evident in their diverse and bold beer offerings, showcasing a dedication to pushing the boundaries of traditional beer styles.
  2. Beer Diversity: The brewery's diverse range of high-quality beers, including the Denver Pale Ale, Yeti Imperial Stout, Titan India Pale Ale, and the Hazy India Pale Ale, illustrates a commitment to crafting a variety of styles that appeal to different beer enthusiasts.
  3. High-Alcohol Content Beers: Great Divide's specialization in producing high-alcohol content beers, with ABV percentages above 7%, demonstrates a penchant for crafting robust and intense brews, which is a hallmark of many craft breweries.
  4. Community Engagement: The brewery's dedication to fostering a deeper appreciation for craft brewing through education, community engagement, and exceptional service aligns with the ethos of many craft breweries, emphasizing a strong connection to its local community and beer enthusiasts.
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