Visitors are safe and welcome at our museums. Please click here for details and tickets.
Beer Here! Exhibit Opens on May 18, at History Colorado Center
Brewing the past, present and future of Colorado’s hoppy history and lifestyle
DENVER (April 15, 2019) — To blend Colorado history with an enlightening and relatable experience, History Colorado Center will open its spring exhibition Beer Here! Brewing the New West on May 18, 2019, coinciding with American Craft Beer Week.The exhibit – sponsored by Ball Corporation and Coors Brewing Company – brings Colorado history to life, from the Gold Rush, immigration and early days of Prohibition to the growth of the outdoor industry and insight into contemporary customs – told through the story of beer.
History Colorado Center is a museum of History Colorado, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and an agency of the State of Colorado. History Colorado strives to be a place of belonging for all Coloradans and to serve as a platform for community connection and diversity.
“The story of beer in Colorado showcases the state’s transformation from an economy based on extractive industries, like mining and agriculture, to one equally powered by outdoor recreation and amenities. It is a shift that puts Colorado in the heart of the New West,” said Steve Turner, History Colorado executive director and Colorado state historic preservation officer. “We learn so much from different experiences and ‘flavors’ in history, stimulating unexpected and imaginative conversations.”
The exhibit’s planning period spanned five years, meeting with local organizations and breweries and working in collaboration with the Colorado Brewers Guild to research and develop the narrative through Colorado’s rich brewing history. In fact, according to local brewers, this collaboration is what makes Colorado’s beer industry unique. With nearly 400 breweries; the headquarters of the Brewers Association, Brewers Guild and the American Homebrewers Association; the headquarters of the world’s leading aluminum can manufacturer; home to the largest brewery in North America; and the host location of the Great American Beer Festival, Colorado is the state in which craft beer makes the biggest contribution to the overall economy – the fifth-biggest craft-beer consuming state per capita.
Back in the Gold Rush, saloons weren’t just saloons. They were post offices, restaurants, hotels and social clubs. But, then, Colorado banned alcohol – four years before Prohibition hit the rest of the country. In 1859, Colorado’s first brewery began pouring beer for thirsty miners.
By the 1970s, beer was big business again – really big business.
“This exhibit is more than a history of the brewing industry; it is a history of Colorado told over a few beers. In a series of talks, media collaborations and articles over the past year, it’s apparent that people enjoy learning about how beer connects to other aspects of our shared history and how that history applies to their lives today,” said Sam Bock, lead developer for Beer Here! and public historian for History Colorado. “We believe that assisting Coloradans – and beer enthusiasts everywhere – in their desire to become informed and engaged citizens is a cause that we can all responsibly raise a glass to.”
About the Beer Here! Exhibit
In five sections that span 1859-present, the exhibit explores topics such as 1) “Beer on the Mining Frontier,” when immigrants planted mining towns during the Gold Rush; 2) “Brewing an Industry,” how Colorado became the industrial hub of the Rocky Mountain West; 3) “Prohibition,” why the state went dry four years before national Prohibition; 4) “Coors Country,” where Coors Brewing Company and Ball Corporation contributed to Colorado’s economy and culture; and 5) “The Rise of Craft,” when the connection grew between the rising outdoor recreation and brewing industries.
Beer Here! will feature stories from the past, present and future, as well as more than 160 authentic artifacts from Colorado’s beer and brewing history, connecting time periods. Some of the most compelling objects include:
A Denver brewer’s union card from 1888, written entirely in German, because that was the language most brewers spoke at the time;
Adolph Coors’ original hand-drawn sketch of his first beer label, on loan from the Coors archive;
A massive wooden bottle smasher used by the Denver Police Department during Prohibition;
Beer-brewing equipment then now;
The nation’s first recyclable aluminum beer cans, pioneered by Coors;
The flyer for the very first Great American Beer Festival in 1982;
Some of New Belgium’s original brewing equipment; and
Other artifacts from Colorado’s hoppy history.
Also, museum visitors will be able to see and smell the ingredients Coors uses to make its beer, inside the exhibit and outside in the “beer ingredient garden.” Since beer is not allowed inside the gallery to protect some rare and important artifacts, the museum’s café will feature a flight of four beers that represent different time periods. Tasting notes and additional historical information about the beers will come with the flight.
Beer Here! is made possible by the generous support from Coors Brewing Company, founded in Golden, Colo., in 1873, before Colorado was a state, and the makers of Coors Banquet, brewed only in Colorado with Rocky Mountain water; and Ball Corporation, headquartered in Broomfield, Colo., which supplies innovative and infinitely recyclable aluminum packaging solutions for the beer industry. The exhibition will remain open at History Colorado Center through August 2020.
Between opening in May 2019 and closing in August 2020, History Colorado Center will host educational and interactive Beer Here! programming and events. A few confirmed programs include lectures, tours with historians, home brewing classes, Historic Styles Brew Fest, Golden Triangle Final Fridays and more. For dates and details, visit HistoryColorado.org.
Beer Here! is included in the cost of a general admission ticket: $14 adults, $12 seniors 65+, $10 for students with ID, $8 children 5-15; children 4 and under free. History Colorado Center is located at 1200 N. Broadway, Denver.
Exhibit Description, Quotes, Story Ideas and Relevant Artifacts
For a detailed exhibit description, images, quotes, story ideas, relevant artifacts and additional background, please click here.
For visuals of the Beer Here! exhibit and selected artifacts, please click here.
About History Colorado
History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. The charitable organization and historical agency serves as the state’s memory, preserving the places, stories and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, research library, collections and outreach to Colorado communities. With eight museums around the state, History Colorado shares the cultures and stories that define Colorado’s past and present, including History Colorado Center (Denver); Center for Colorado Women’s History at Byers-Evans House (Denver); El Pueblo History Museum (Pueblo); Trinidad History Museum (Trinidad); Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center (Fort Garland); Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin (Leadville); Ute Indian Museum (Montrose); and Fort Vasquez (Platteville). Visit HistoryColorado.org or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.
About Ball Corporation
Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for beverage, personal care and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 17,500 people worldwide and reported 2018 net sales of $11.6 billion. For more information, visit Ball.com, or connect with Ball on Facebook or Twitter.
About Coors Brewing Company
Coors Brewing Company was founded in 1873 in Golden, Colo., by Adolph Coors. The brewery’s original and most enduring beer is Coors Banquet, still brewed exclusively in Golden using only Rocky Mountain water and high-country barley. Coors is part of the U.S. business unit of the Molson Coors Brewing Company, which has its global headquarters in Denver. Learn more at MillerCoors.com, at Facebook.com/MillerCoors, or on Twitter through @MillerCoors.