Telluride Brewing Co. Takes Top Honors at the Great American Beer Festival
TELLURIDE – Telluride’s home-bred brewing company has done it again.
Telluride Brewing Company’s Face Down Brown, which had already made waves in the beer world thanks to its gold medal conquest at the World Beer Cup in May, has now reached celebrity status. The award-winning brown ale is now a two-time gold medal winner in the American style brown ale category, after snagging top honors at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver last weekend.
Telluride Brewing Co. joined nearly 700 American breweries featured at the Great American Beer Festival, the largest judged beer event in the world. To say local founders Chris Fish, Tommy Thatcher and Brian Gavin are “riding high” on their second gold medal in less than a year is an understatement. The buzz drifting out of the company’s Lawson Hill headquarters is downright electric, as these beer lovers-turned-Telluride entrepreneurs calculate their next step.
“There are really only two competitions that really matter to most brewers, or that really matter to me – and that’s the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival,” says TBC’s head brewer Fish.
Winning a gold medal at both – and within one year of starting their business – is “huge,” Fish says.
The Face Down Brown, a well-balanced American-style brown “hybrid” blending American and English malt and hops, was deemed the best by a world-renowned panel of judges at the World Beer Cup last May in San Diego, so TBC’s founders knew they had a pretty good shot at making the podium at the GABF. But even with the heady accomplishment of winning a World Beer Cup gold under their belts, the TBC crew was ecstatic that GABF judges also acknowledged them as the creators of the world’s standard for American-style brown ales.
“According to some of the judges, it’s pretty rare for a beer to win a gold medal at both events in the same year,” Fish said. “The buzz on this beer couldn’t be any higher.”
Now that TBC has not one but two gold medals adorning the tasting bar at its Lawson Hill brewery, the company’s owners are gearing up for yet another growth spurt.
Just last month, TBC’s canning operation grew threefold thanks to the addition of a fully automated canner. Currently, TBC’s Bridal Veil Pale Ale is the only beer that has been canned and distributed. The company had originally planned for its Tempter IPA to be the next brew put into cans and onto liquor store shelves, but now that the Face Down Brown has achieved such an esteemed reputation among beer connoisseurs, TBC art director John Lehman may have to switch gears and begin working on a design for that beer instead. Fish says that no decision has been made yet, but that the TBC crew is “heavily leaning towards” putting the Brown next in line for canning and distribution.
“Just from what we saw with our beer sales after the World Beer Cup win, we’re expecting a substantial jump” in sales following the GABF win, Fish says. From a sales point of view, he continues, the just-launched company now has carte blanche to approach large Front Range liquor stores with their products.
Distributors have all but started pounding on the brewery’s door, asking for TBC’s Face Down Brown.
“It revives all of us,” Fish says, of the buzz surrounding the still-young company. “All of this recognition brings us to a whole new level. Now, all we can do is just throw everything we have at it and see where it takes us.”