Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Native? Really?

Here’s the thing about being native to Colorado. You have to be born here. If you were born somewhere else, you’re not a native. Exceptions can be considered for people who move to Colorado by the age of five. But we Coloradans, we’re pretty picky about the use of the word “native” and its application to our state.

So, when AC Golden Brewing released their Colorado Native lager, I was ready to judge.

Now the premise of this beer is that 99.8% of the ingredients come from Colorado: hops grown at employees’ homes, bottles from Rocky Mountain Bottling Co. in Wheat Ridge, barley from the San Luis Valley, even cardboard packaging from Temple-Island in Wheat Ridge.

I, of course, support the idea of locally grown ingredients – the premise behind it is to lower the carbon footprint of the beer. And Colorado Native is only available in, well, Colorado. So there’s a fun level of exclusivity when it comes to the beer distribution.

But here’s where I have an issue with the beer. In their promotion, the concept of the “Colorado native” is completely ignored by AC Golden. At the release party, there was a large sign describing the beer that asked “Are you a Colorado Native?” and then started its response with: “Being a Colorado Native isn’t really about where you were born; it’s more a state of mind.”

Lies, damned lies all around

Actually, being a Colorado Native is about where you were born. I’ll accept that being a Coloradan isn’t about where you were born; but as an actual, honest to God, native, I know how picky we natives are about using the term “Colorado native.” In most cases, we welcome new people to our state (unless you’re a Lakers fans. And with two days to go until the playoffs start, I’m really going to need the Lakers fans to get out. Now.), but that doesn’t make you a native.

The idea of a completely Colorado based beer appeals to me, a lot. As exciting as it is watching our breweries start distributing throughout the country, it’s nice to have something that’s meant to be exclusively for us back home.

But given how much attention AC Golden Brewing is putting towards its promotion -- much of the press its received has related to the concept and advertising of Colorado Native, rather than the beer itself, the failure in messaging really bothers me. Call it Coloradan Lager, something, anything, just not Colorado Native.

Now about the beer

The beer itself is a flavorful beer pong beer: better than Coors Light, but you wouldn’t mind throwing a dirty ping pong ball into it, then chugging it down without stopping to taste it. Quite frankly, my friends out of state aren’t missing much.

And has anyone else noticed how the packaging of the beer is remarkably similar to Breckenridge’s Avalanche?

Coors, I’m trying to get over my negative feelings towards you, but this Colorado Native thing isn’t helping your cause. Great idea, terrible execution.

If you want something more than just my "Colorado Native" rantings, here are links to a few articles that are more about the production of the beer:

Denver Business Journal


Denver Post

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