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Accounting for Breweries – What you need to know moving forward

The following post is from Forrest Rose, owner of Grey CPAs in Windsor, CO – www.greycpas.com. Forrest helps growing breweries keep their accounting in order so they can concentrate on what they are good at – pumping out delicious beer!

Denver and Colorado microbrewer opening rates have surged in recent years, and for good reason. Talented brewers have taken advantage of the growing thirst of Colorado beer loving patrons who want to taste different varieties of beer concoctions. As an accountant who spends a lot of time in breweries helping owners sift through the accounting changes taking place every single year, I’m very lucky to live in this great state of Colorado, where the breweries are plentiful!

Because we spend a lot of time in breweries, we hear stories about hopeful brewers flaming out before they got a shot to successfully distribute their beer. Some don’t make it to where they want to be because of lack of funding, some because of not properly tracking or preparing for operational costs.

For the breweries that have achieved fiscal sustainability, the tax and financial code is an important thing to understand, or have your accountant understand. The below explains more of this in detail, but if you have questions, of course reach out to a certified public accountant.

New FASB update for revenue recognition (how companies make money) and the 5-step approach a company should utilize to ensure revenue is appropriately recognized:

  • Identify the contract(s)
    • What this means is that companies must identify all contract types (pricing arrangements, terms of payment, shipping terms, etc.) and revenue streams.
  • Identify the separate performance obligations
    • What this means is that an entity must identify what goods or services are being sold in the contract and ensure that those performance obligations are segregated appropriately
  • Determine the transaction price
    • Is the price fixed or determinable? Is there a variable component? An entity must determine this.
  • Allocate the transaction price to the separate performance obligations
    • Each performance obligation above must be linked to a determinable price.
  • Recognize revenue when the entity satisfies a performance obligation.
    • An entity can only recognize revenue when the goods or services have been provided.

A lot of brewery owners may look at the above, and be a bit confused, which is where an accountant can help. Whether breweries have a CPA on staff, or bring one in to help them, it’s important to make sure the financial and tax codes are understood, as they change regularly.

We hope this was helpful to all the Colorado breweries that are already booming or just getting started!


denver breweries

New Denver Brewery For Social Good: The Brewability Lab

Among the new Denver breweries popping up, we can now expect a new one in the Lakewood district that not only aims to provide great beers, but also a commitment to jobs for an underserved population: developmentally disabled adults. Not only with this new brewery bring us great beer, but it will also help out some members of our community in a great way.

The Brewability Lab is a startup brewery by Tiffany Fixter that will be taking over Caution Brewing’s original location, complete with Caution’s original 5-barrel brewing system, grain mill, canning line, tap system, bar and glassware. Once Caution Brewery moves out later this year (and will keep its second location in Lakewood open while it finds larger brewing facilities), The Brewability Lab will expand the hours, and redecorate the site to take on a 1930s and 1940s chemistry lab design.

The concept behind the Brewability Lab is great and has already received lots of community support through Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. Though these adults with developmental disabilities have a difficult time finding a job, a brewery is a perfect place for them: many of the tasks associated with brewing–from measuring grain to cleaning tanks and glasses, sanitizing equipment and pouring beer– are repetitive, and many of these adults can do this type of work consistently with ease. Some of the new crew has already started training for various beer brewing duties at Grandma’s House, and will help name some of the beers produced in the space.

The brewery will start off with an IPA, a cream ale, a Belgian dark strong ale, a saison, and an oatmeal stout for drinkers to enjoy. The head brewer who will be supervising the new team is Toby Gerhard, a longtime homebrewer, and Grandma’s House will continue to support training for the new employees.

Overall, it’s great to see a unique brewery in Denver that’s doing something different beyond the tap. For a great guide to breweries to visit in the Denver area, contact us.


falling rock tap house

Falling Rock Tap House’s Plans Give Denver’s Beer Drinkers Reason to Smile

 

The Falling Rock Tap House has long been a tour guide and craft beer connoisseur favorite. Accordingly, it has been a part of our Denver Microbrew Tours for ages. What’s our favorite part of the stop besides the beer? For one, the hospitality is outstanding. And the ambiance is great too but it’s about to get better. How so? Pick up your glass, take a sip and listen while we share the details:

The brewery’s relocating to another wonderful part of Denver. Do you want to guess where the new tap house is being built? Okay, our tour guides will tell you. It’s Washington Street. Why Washington Street? Well, why not? It’s a burgeoning community that is close to a light-rail station and Interstate-25. So beer drinkers will have no problems finding it.

And the Washington Park area in general is perfect for walking tours. The community was originally laid out by a famous, German architect back in the 1800s. As such, many of the community’s old buildings and public spaces have great, architectural details as well as a fabulous feel to them. Plus, there are modern shops, restaurants and other contemporary amenities available near the tap house’s new location too.

The new location hasn’t opened yet and when it does, we’ll be sure to let everyone know. In the meantime, our DenverMicrobrew Tours will continue as normal. As always, they’ll include a number of area favorites and we’ll factor in the Falling Rock Tap House’s new digs when the time comes. Beer connoisseurs may want to check out the Washington Park area on their own too. The community’s park is exceptionally fetching in the spring thanks to walking trails, outdoor sculptures and flower gardens.

To learn more about where we’ll be going in the weeks ahead, please contact us for the latest tour itinerary.

 


history of denver, as it relates to drinking

The Interesting History of Denver, as it Relates to Drinking

 

The history of Denver, as it relates to drinking, extends to the city’s first permanent drinking establishment. The city’s first saloon opened its doors when Denver was still considered a frontier town. At that time, the location had already gone through the gold boom and had developed into a goods and supply hub for miners who had money to spare. Within its first 50 years as a city, Denver welcomed more than 400 saloons. Drinking has been a large part of Denver’s unique culture ever since.

A handful of Denver’s original historical drinking establishments still stand. For instance, the Buckhorn Exchange, founded in 1893, holds the distinction of being issued the state’s first liquor license. The bar was erected to serve migrant railroad workers, but exists today as an iconic Denver landmark that is a National Historic Landmark. A total of five American Presidents have dined at the Buckhorn Exchange, where they were given the distinct pleasure of being seated among the bar’s 575-piece taxidermy exhibit.

Gone are the days in Denver when one could only legally consume alcohol via a doctor’s prescription. Today, the city ranks fifth in the United States among the number of craft breweries per capita. There are currently approximately 15 craft breweries per 500,000 Denver residents. The numbers increase significantly each year. However, the older historical establishments retain the allure of their history.

If you are interested in finding out more about the drinking history of Denver, along with more recent and delightful microbrewery discoveries, please contact us to schedule a Denver Microbrew Tour, where our seasoned professional tour guides will entice you with interesting beer trivia as you sample local offerings.

 


downtown denver rock bottom brewery

A far cry from rock bottom in downtown Denver.

The flavor enthusiast who likes their drinks with an edge will be in for a treat at Rock Bottom Brewery in downtown Denver, one of the breweries on our LoDo (lower downtown) tour. They started brewing beer in 1991 and after 25 years they have accumulated over 125 major medals and awards. There is a hop range designed to please every palate with IBU’s ranging from 8 to 85. The selection is not limited to the ever popular standbys but even these offer a distinctive mark. On tap presently at Rock Bottom Brewery per their web page are some of these pours:

  • Liquid Sun Saison, authentic French farmhouse style ale, with ABV of 8.1% lends itself to sipping slowly.
  • El Chupacabra, a Mexican style ale that boasts the sweetness of corn.
  • Chili Kolsch awakens the senses with jalapeno, serrano and poblano peppers.
  • The taps also serve up various IPA’s, black india ale, hefeweizen and barley wine.

Every Friday night there is live music that starts at 7pm. There are also special events monthly which are advertised on their website.

Not only are there great sips but great eats as well. The menu has a large selection of staple brew house appetizers such as pretzels and wings but also apps with a twist such as cotija cheese and chorizo sausage stuffed pretzel bites. The comprehensive menu has entrees, salads, desserts and a full bar menu.

Happy hour is Monday to Friday 3-6:30.

For more info on this or other stops on our brew tour, please contact us. Tours run Friday through Sunday, starting at varying hours.


history of denver, as it relates to drinking

History of Drinking in Denver: Traveling Back in Time Never Tasted So Good

The next time you drink a cold one in Denver, know that you are swallowing some hard-fought history. Legalized marijuana wasn’t the first time this Wild West city fought for its right to party. The similarities between both the liquor and marijuana battles lend to the cliché; history repeats itself.

In his book Moonshine and Murder: Prohibition in Denver, author James E. Hansen II describes the decades long battle between temperance groups, the city of Denver, and the state of Colorado. According to Hansen’s account, the battle began in the 1860’s, with Denver rejecting every attempt by the state and local temperance groups to “go dry” until well into the 20th century.

And if you consider all the interesting historical details about Denver’s loving relationship with beer to begin with, the sixty year battle makes a lot of sense. Or suds.

Traveling back in time never tasted so good.

Here are 6 interesting facts about Denver’s longstanding relationship with beer.

  1. Miners and pioneers brewed and sold beer right out of their tents and the back of their wagons since the city’s founding in 1859.
  2. Denver’s first city government was formed in a saloon called Apollo Hall located at 1425 Larimer Street; the building still stands today.
  3. After stowing away aboard a ship from Hamburg to New York City, Adolph Coors made it to the Wild West and founded the Coors Brewing Company in Golden, Colorado (roughly thirty driving minutes west of Denver) in 1873. The brewery still uses the same original 44 natural Rocky Mountain springs to this day.
  4. In 1907, state legislature enacted a local option bill which permitted Colorado cities to decide whether or not to go dry. Denver resisted, and voted to keep their spirits.
  5. In 1914, Colorado decided that “no person or group could manufacture or import, except for medicinal or sacramental purposes, any intoxicating liquors”. Though the measure was successful throughout most of the state, Denver rejected prohibition once again with a local vote landslide. Note that liquor was legal if it was for medicinal purposes. Sound familiar?
  6. After 1916, Denver was forced into prohibition just like the rest of the country. Like many cities during Prohibition, the rules only applied to the people, never the officials who imposed them. Gahan’s Saloon, located at 1401 Larimer Street was known as the “Soft Drink Parlor” which was code for a liquor-flowing speakeasy that was frequented by cops, politicians, and reporters.

Conclusion

That same independent and entrepreneurial spirit that fought for the right to enjoy a beer or some liquor, still lives on in Colorado’s capital city. These days, Denver is known as the “Napa Valley of Beer”; and brews more suds on any given day than any other city in the United States.

Thirsty yet?

The Denver Microbrew Tour is a history-packed guided walking tour of historic lower downtown Denver and its world-famous microbreweries. Contact us today to learn more about how we can share even more cool history about the Mile High City – and buy you a pint.


denver-breweries

The Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project: The Sour Beer Entrant Among Denver Breweries

Fans of Belgian-style sour beers will want to take note of the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project and its taproom at the Source, which is at 3550 Brighton. Crooked Stave distinguishes itself among Denver breweries with its barrel-aged, limited release craft beers. These are not Belgian lambics, which are brewed in specific regions, but are instead a whole new approach to the burgeoning sour beer trend.

Crooked Stave’s brews begin with special yeast strains that impart the desired tartness, followed by aging in first-use red wine, bourbon, and other barrels, depending on the characteristics the brewmaster wants to impart to his beer. Barrels add both color and flavor to the brew, including vanilla, caramel and burnt wood tasting notes. Barrel aging extends the time required to produce a batch of beer. Some barrel-aged sour beers can remain in barrel for up to two years before their release. Sour beers in general are more challenging to produce, but for many people the resulting product is worth the challenge.

Crooked Stave’s beers are made in small, limited run batches. When a batch runs out, a new batch with different taste characteristics will take its place. Crooked Stave reserves some of its more limited release batch’s for members of its cellar reserve club. In 2013, the brewery gave purchasing priority to its cellar reserve club members for its golden, burgundy, and dark sour beers. Many of those beers remain available for sampling in Crooked Stave’s taproom.

Belgian-style sour beers will not appeal to everyone’s tastes, nor will they be an everyday staple beer for most people. The tastes are typically complex and full-bodied, almost demanding that they be relished slowly when a drinker can focus on the craftsmanship that went into brewing them. A recent tasting of Crooked Stave’s IPA-style sour beer, for example, revealed a unique blend of typical IPA hoppiness balanced against its sour overtones.

The Denver Microbrew Tour offers two-hour guided walking tours of breweries in and around downtown Denver. We support and encourage the growing microbrew trend that has made Denver the “Napa Valley of Beer”. Please contact us for information about our walking tours or other aspects of Denver’s beer heritage.


Wynkoop Brewing Company

Wynkoop Brewing Company, Historically Crafted

Wynkoop Brewing Company is so much more than Denver’s first brewpub; it’s housed in a building that is steeped in the city’s mining and railroad history. Though the J.S. Brown Mercantile Building was not built until 1899, the area it is built on and the owner, John Sidney Brown, had been doing business with miners, brewers and grocers since 1861.

It’s almost like history set the stage for Wynkoop‘s successful destiny: world-renowned craft beer and New American pub grub.

And, it’s as if the building itself was meant to be tied to historical events forever.

In 1868, J.S. Brown was among the men who broke ground for the railroad in Denver. A strong advocate and key player (alongside other historical names like George Morrison and Governor John Evans) in bringing the railroad to Denver, Brown lobbied and raised money until the completion of Union Station, 13 years later.

With his business located directly across the street from Union Station, the building was meant for success.

In 1902, the Mercantile building made the news again, and was named “a magnificent structure, fitted up in a perfectly modern style, having railroad switches in its front and rear, and every convenience necessary for the prompt transacting of business” by the Denver Times (Denver Post).

Fast forward 80 plus years, and the building is still making history.

In 1988, a relatively unknown and laid-off geologist by the name of John Hickenlooper started the Wynkoop Brewing Company inside the old Mercantile building.

Mr. Hickenlooper went on to become the Mayor of Denver from 2003 to 2011. He was then elected as Governor of Colorado and assumed office on January 11, 2011.

But the political fame for the famous brewpub doesn’t stop there.

On a normal Tuesday in July of 2014, President Obama made a surprise visit to the unsuspecting brewpub. It was widely reported that Mr. Obama enjoyed a Rail Yard, the pub’s best-selling ale; and played a friendly game of pool with GovernorHickenlooper.

Wynkoop Brewing Company has and always will be connected to and making history. The experience of the historic atmosphere and the quality, crafted beer make this destination a Denver institution.

Want to experience the magic of Wynkoop Brewing Company in person and learn more? Check out these brewing tours today!


river north brewery

River North Brewery Moving with Funk The Man Celebration

When it comes to some of the best craft beer in Denver, River North Brewery has been a highlight staple in the RiNo district. But by the end of October, you won’t be able to visit the brewery in its famed 24th and Blake location of the neighborhood.

The building River North has called home for over three years will be bulldozed in order to rebuild on the lot some apartment dwellings. River North is now preparing to move, but they’re going out with a big celebration and a big beer. Called the Funk the Man series, these special beer releases are variation of the brewery’s brett saisons from their archived barrels. Funk the Man challenges what River North Brewery calls “insatiable redevelopment, growth for the sake of growth and cash over community.” In contrast to the new development, the Funk the Man wants to celebrate how breweries like River North help to revitalize the community through engagement, collaboration, and fun in the district. The neighborhood will miss this location, and we’ll miss the 24th and Blake stop on our craft beer tour.

But we don’t have to worry for too long about River North’s disappearance. Their new location will be at 6021 Washington Street, slated to reopen before the end of the year. The new location will expand production and provide more space in thetap room, giving more space for drinkers to enjoy the local brew. In addition, the Brewery plans to make a comeback in the neighborhood with a new pilot brewery and taproom.

So good luck to River North, and make sure you stock up before the move! To learn more about some of the best RiNobreweries like River North, contact us.


A Much-Abridged History of Denver, as it Relates to Drinking

In 1919, the states ratified the Eighteenth Amendment and Congress adopted the Volstead Act, which made Prohibition the law of the land. An historian charged with writing a history of Denver as it relates to drinking would be excused from thinking that the city’s residents were a sickly lot back then. Taking advantage of a loophole in the Volstead Act, Denver issued over 16,000 prescription forms that allowed physicians to prescribe up to four ounces of alcohol to any patient that had a “medicinal need” for the same.

Denver’s religious congregations jumped through another loophole and routinely claimed “sacramental” exemptions from the Volstead Act, which that allowed them to continue to use altar wine and other spirits, perhaps doing wonders for church attendance at the time. In anticipation of the broader effects of prohibition, in 1917 Denver had the foresight to issue permits to almost 60,000 of its citizens who claimed a personal consumption exemption from laws that were then in effect, allowing each of them to consume two pints of wine and the equivalent of a 24-pack of beer every month.

Colorado’s agricultural heritage contributed to the efforts to keep a steady flow of alcohol into Denver and throughout Colorado during Prohibition. Moonshiners and other illicit Colorado producers used the state’s sugar beet crop to distill grain alcohols under monikers such as “Sugar Moon” and “Leadville Moon”. By 1932, when Prohibition was repealed, enterprising citizens could find alcohol for sale in Denver on almost every street corner. The city’s denizens no doubt raised a hearty cheer on April 7, 1933, when Coors restarted beer shipments from its Golden, Colorado brewery.

Fast forward to the modern era. By last count, Colorado has more than 200 microbreweries and brewpubs that produce their own craft beers and ales. Many of those breweries produce fewer than 50,000 cases of beer per year (which is likely far less than the amount of beer spilled in a single week at any national brewery). Do Denver’s and Colorado’s attitudes toward Prohibition teach us anything about current drinking practices?

Residents of other cities and states certainly took advantage of the Volstead Act’s exemptions, but little data can be found that allows a comparison of Denver’s and other cities’ reliance on those exemptions. Denver had slightly more than 250,000 residents in 1920. As noted, in 1917, 60,0000 of those residents (i.e. almost one-fourth of the city) claimed a personal consumption exemption, allowing them to consume generous quantities of wine and beer every month. The city’s and state’s enterprising citizens also used locally-grown sugar beets to make their own potent potables. If nothing else, Denver’s Prohibition-era history reveals a creative mindset that will search out and find creative ways to quench a thirst. The city’s new microbreweries and brewpubs are just continuing this tradition with new formulas, flavors and tasting rooms that cater to an ever more selective clientele.

The Denver Microbrew Tour will give you a new perspective on the city’s thriving beer and brewing culture and history. Feel free to contact us if you’d like more information or if you want to schedule your own tour with us. Eighty years has passed since the repeal of Prohibition, and you can enjoy the city’s microbrew offerings without looking for a Volstead Act exemption to keep you above the law.


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