One of the best things about Craft Beer culture is its dedication to collaboration over competition. Sure, there are competitive aspects to the business in regard to shelf space, beer names, awards, etc. But overall we operate as a community, swapping stories, sharing ingredients and ideas, showing praise and offering advice. Even in the midst of competition our community is extremely supportive of one another. Take, for example, the theater full of craft beer professionals awaiting results of the Great American Beer Festival (“GABF”) award ceremony. Winning breweries are met with cheers, applause, high fives and hugs (from the “competition”) as they are awarded their medals. It’s not forced, it’s not just good sportsmanship, it’s genuine congratulations. Last September we got to experience that feeling firsthand after winning a silver medal for our Summer Siesta Mexican Lager. Already a moment full of excitement and joy, it was only amplified by the outpouring of support from our neighboring breweries, and even breweries from across the country. We of course celebrated the win as a team, but after the initial high died down, we took a step back and realized just how momentous this was for Craft Beer in general. Enter Sycamore Brewing from Charlotte, NC. In the American Lager or Light Lager category, Lone Tree Brewing Company and Sycamore Brewing took home silver and bronze medals, respectively. In the past, this particular category has been largely dominated by the “big guys”.  In fact, in the 33-year history of GABF, only twice has this category (1993 and 1998) ever seen a winner from a brewery who was not owned by the “big guys”, let alone two! Until now. So in the spirit of the craft beer community, our two breweries reached out to one another to offer congratulations and share in the excitement of breaking into this category. It was not much longer when we all realized a collaboration of sorts was in order, and what better to honor our respective wins than to brew a lager together! 

Both breweries are embarking on brewing the first of two special release India Pale Lagers in celebration of our medal-winning beers. One will feature a Colorado specific ingredient, the other, a uniquely North Carolina addition. While the brewers are hard at work hashing out the final details of these recipes and firing up the brew kettles, we realized there was an additional golden opportunity presented to us recently. Last week, two games determined the fate of our two states, going head-to-head in Super Bowl 50. Given that we’ve got the collaboration aspect under control, we thought we could have a little friendly competition to spice things up a bit. In one week, Colorado and North Carolina will compete in TWO of America’s favorite pastimes: Football and Beer. The terms are simple(;)the brewery in the losing state has to dress up in the winning team’s colors while drowning their sorrows in some Coors Banquet Beer. In addition, the losing team will donate a set amount of money to the animal rescue of the winning team’s mascot, horses in Colorado, wild cats in North Carolina). What this comes down to is that in one week we’ll be sent a photo of our friends at Sycamore dressed to the nines in blue & orange, sipping on some Coors Banquet flavored with their tears. 

In all seriousness, we are all extremely excited to collaborate and facilitate the rapid growth of our Craft BeerOur industry has come a long way in the past 30 years, and we’re not slowing down. Our roots are deep and strong, our supporters passionate and loyal, and our community supportive and inspired. 

 

LTBC
Lone Tree Brewing took Silver in American Lager last September at GABF.
Sycamore
Sycamore won the bronze medal for Southern Girl Lager.