Colorado craft brewers join fracking fight

Good beer needs clean water.

Letter to Gov. Hickenlooper calls for better balance between energy development and resource protection

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Colorado’s brewers — including two Summit County based operations — are flexing a little political muscle and calling on Gov. John Hickenlooper to strike a better balance between energy development and conservation.

Rick Tork, manager of Frisco’s Backcountry Brewery, and Pug Ryan’s Steakhouse and Brewery owner Annie Holton, signed on to represent Summit County.

In a letter to Hickenlooper, the brewers, 26 in all, cited the importance of Colorado’s image and marketability for craft brewing and the important economic impact of keeping Colorado’s skies and waters clear and clean, saying that the state’s brand and high quality of life “attracts new residents, businesses, entrepreneurs and millions of tourists annually.”

A spokesman at the governor’s office said Hickenlooper recognizes the value of the craft-brewing industry.

“The craft brewing industry is a great economic driver for Colorado and we value our relationship with brewers across the state. We will review the letter and respond appropriately,” said communications director Eric Brown.

While there are no plans for drilling in Summit County, it’s important in general to protect water quality on Colorado, said Tork, who said he would encourage Gov. Hickenlooper to do everything possible to safeguard the state’s water supplies.

Hickenlooper’s policies sometimes appear to tilt in favor of the energy industry, which is, of course, also a huge part of the state’s economy. According to the brewers, state lawsuits against towns seeking to toughen up drilling regs, as well as Hickenlooper’s reluctance to support stronger health and safety standards as evidence of his pro-industry position.

“We want to be known as a state of natural beauty, pristine natural resources, outdoor activities and great beer, not just a state that promotes drilling and the gas industry,” said Chip Holland, head brewer at the Glenwood Canyon Brewery.  “We need to strike a better balance between this type of energy development and conservation for our economy’s sake.”

Revolution Brewing owner, Gretchen King, of Paonia, CO, said, “I think there is a natural concern from brewers about the oil and gas industry since good clean Colorado water is our most important ingredient in beer.”

 The letter encourages Gov. Hickenlooper to take action.  The letter says: “We ask you, as our governor and a craft beer enthusiast, to protect what we all value—clear skies, clean water and Colorado’s great outdoors. We urge you to support stronger standards for oil and gas industry operations. The quality of life we all enjoy and the integrity of communities where craft brewing thrives are depending on this.”
The brewers have asked for a meeting with the Governor this summer to discuss the issue. Gov. Hickenlooper and his staff were also invited to have a beer with the brewers to discuss the letter on Friday at Hogshead Brewery in Denver, but the Governor was unable to attend.

7 thoughts on “Colorado craft brewers join fracking fight

  1. It’s really nice to see an industry take a stand against fracking. We need more groups of businesses banding together to protect the environment. The oil and natural gas industry shouldn’t be the only political voice out there.

  2. Craft brewing hypocrites! How do they obtain the natural gas and electricity that they utilize in the brewing process? Diesel fuel to truck it to the distribution network? Fertilizer for the barley? Etc. They are campaigning against a boogie man that doesn’t exist.

  3. I thank the Colorado craft brewers for joining in the debate about fracking. It is their right and duty to express their opinions about fracking.

    Natural beautify once destroyed is gone forever. Care must be exercised in the development of natural resources. Open debate is critical to assessment of the risk vs payoff. To pretend that fracking carries no risk or lasting impact on nature is wrong.

    I live in Texas and have a ranch where area fracking is causing underground water use problems. The fracking impact issues are important and must be assessed fully and carefully in advance. Water supplies once gone are forever gone.

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