Contract Brewery to Keep Boulder Beer on Shelves

Denver-based Sleeping Giant announces plan to keep producing and distributing for the country’s oldest operating microbrewery.

Brewing Industry Guide Staff Dec 3, 2019 - 2 min read

Contract Brewery to Keep Boulder Beer on Shelves Primary Image

A snapshot from Boulder Beer’s earliest days on the goat farm, on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Boulder Beer got its start in 1979. To put that on the microbrewing timeline, plug it in between New Albion (opened 1976, closed 1982) and Sierra Nevada (opened 1980).

Boulder Beer’s story appeared to be in denouement in October, when it announced that it would cease distribution and downsize, focusing only on its Boulder brewpub. After producing more than 29,000 barrels in 2014, the brewery sold only about 16,000 last year.

The story took another turn this week. Sleeping Giant, a contract-only brewery based in Denver, announced Monday that it has reached a deal to keep Boulder beers in stores and bars, without interruption. Sleeping Giant says it will brew the beers while taking over marketing and distribution.

Boulder, meanwhile, will continue to operate its brewpub. Owner Gina Day, in the announcement, says that it’s an exciting time for the brewery. “We are thrilled to have the brand continue its legacy and to continue to supply our loyal customers through retail markets,” she says.

Sleeping Giant says it approached Boulder about keeping the brands alive. President and Founder Matthew Osterman calls it an “amazing opportunity.”

“We couldn’t be more proud to work with such an iconic brand, the first craft brewery in Colorado,” Osterman says. “Further, our new relationship will allow Sleeping Giant to better understand the distribution, sales, and marketing side of the business.” That experience, he says, will help Sleeping Giant to better serve its other contract-brewing clients.

Boulder’s last beer going out to market was thought to be its 40th Anniversary Ale, a strong barrel-aged blonde ale brewed with pineapple.

Now, it looks as if more Boulder Beer will appear on store shelves after all.