DENVER (CBS4)- Some 40,000 people are converging in Downtown Denver for the Great American Beer Festival this weekend. The craft brewing business seems to be untouched in tough economic times.

Last year’s sales exceeded $7 billion. That more than doubles the business in the past decade.

“Well, we both worked at the Rocky Mountain News Denver Newspaper Agency and we both survived the 2007, 2008 round of layoffs and started thinking, we need a Plan B,” said Strange Brewing Company owner Tim Myers.

Beer lovers are flocking to the distinctive tastes offered by micro brews like Great Divide that are making Denver a mecca for craft beer.

“People really enjoy the diversity of flavors and the complexity of flavors that craft beers offer. I think also craft beer is really reclaiming its place at the dinner table and people are discovering lots of wonderful food pairings and how exciting it is to taste beer with food,” said Great American Beer Festival spokeswoman Barbara Fusco.

“We opened Wynkoop in 1988 and we were grossly under capitalized. By most reasonable expectations we should have failed, we almost did fail a couple of times. The one thing we wouldn’t do is we wouldn’t quit and I think for all these people looking at it now, I think that’s the best advice,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The export business for craft brewers grew by 28 percent last year.


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