Conservation Communications

Over 50 Colorado Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries Urge Colorado Senator Cory Gardner to Protect America’s Arctic Refuge

Denver, Colorado (October 2, 2017) - This week, as focus in Denver is on the annual Great American Beer Festival, another gathering of Colorado craft beverage makers took place as over 50 breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries from across the state of Colorado sent a letter to Senator Cory Gardner asking him to protect and preserve the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by leaving the Refuge closed to oil and gas drilling.

Senator Gardner serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources and Budget Committees. This spring, both the House of Representatives and President Trump included similar instructions that would authorize drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge through the federal budget process. Soon, the Senate Budget Committee may take one step closer to fossil fuel development by including Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling in their fiscal 2018 budget instructions.

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner has been vocal about his support for public lands throughout his campaigns, tenure, and at town halls this past August and September. The Senator’s website states: “Public lands are some of our most cherished national treasures, and as a fifth-generation Coloradan I understand the importance of preserving iconic landscapes in my state and across the nation. We must be good stewards of our natural environment, and this includes being responsible for the lands placed into parks, historic sites and trails, monuments, and recreation areas. The wildlife and wilderness that can be seen within these areas is something that cannot be taught in our classrooms. We need to work together to help preserve and promote these sites for the millions of visitors each year.”

Colorado’s breweries, wineries, and distilleries are a powerful economic engine that creates jobs and revenue for many communities throughout the state and beyond. Colorado has over 350 craft breweries in 94 different cities, over 90 distilleries, 20 cideries, and more than 140 wineries. Together, these industries record a collective total economic benefits of $346 million to the state’s economy while employing over 10,000 people. (1-4)

The letter states: “The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is unique and unspoiled, and we have a moral responsibility to preserve and protect it for future generations. Please listen to our substantial business voice in our state and do not allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”

“Though it might seem unrelated, many of us in the Colorado Craft Beer Industry see the value in public lands and want to do our part to protect them across the country. As Americans, Coloradans recognize that our public lands don’t stop at the state border. We value the legacy and heritage of our country's public lands nationwide – including in Alaska," said Corey Odell, with Odell Brewing Company based in Fort Collins. 

According to the State of the Rockies Conservation in the West’s annual polls from 2015 to 2017, many people live in West for the freedom to access public lands like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Coloradans treasure healthy public lands because they contribute to strong communities, protect the natural environment, attract businesses and talent, and provide treasured outdoor recreation opportunities:  

• 84% of Coloradans say that the ability to live near and recreate on public lands like national parks and national forests is a factor in their decision to live in the West 

• 98% of Coloradans say that public lands are an "essential" part of the state's economy 

• 72% of Coloradans view public lands managed by federal agencies as “American places belonging to everyone in the nation” 

Shana Yates, Brand Manager with Bristol Brewing Company said, "“The majority of people who have moved to and visit Colorado come because of the state’s recreation and beautiful public lands. These visitors and residents also visit breweries, wineries, and distilleries across the state. We owe it to our customers to protect these lands for generations to come – both here in Colorado and across the country.” 

“One of the most patriotic things we can do is to continue to protect America’s Public lands across the country from Rocky Mountain National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains to The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,“ said Carolee Corey Co-Owner of Decadent Saint Winery in Boulder.

Chris Fish, co-owner of Telluride Brewing Company said, “Our elected officials have a job to protect and preserve our national history and natural beauty through national parks, wildlife refuges, monument, forests, and other public lands. Drilling our best public lands including America’s Arctic Refuge is a threat to our heritage. Our public lands are our legacy – they are irreplaceable.”

Jessica Newhall, owner of Steamboat Whiskey Company said, “The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of America’s last undeveloped frontiers and has stood for decades as a symbol of our public lands heritage. Drilling and the related industrial infrastructure that would come with fossil fuel development would have devastating impacts. This isn’t a partisan issue, rather protection of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge has been supported by Democrats and Republicans for decades because protecting America’s Arctic Refuge is just the right thing to do.”


Media Contact: Anna Peterson, 612-735-2402
Durango, Colorado
(Email to receive full letter). 

Letter Signers: Animas Brewing Company - Augustina’s Winery - Avalanche Brewing Company - Bigsby’s Folly Craft Winery - Black Sky Brewery - Boathouse Distillery - Bristol Brewing Company - Carboy Winery - Cerebral Brewing - Colorado Gold Distillery - Dead Hippie Brewing - Decadent Saint Winery - Elevation Beer Company - Elevation 5003 Distillery - Factotum Brewhouse - Horse & Dragon Brewing Company - I HOP IPA - The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project - Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery - Laughing Leprechaun Meadery - Longtucky Spirits - Mad Jacks Mountain Brewery - Marble Distilling Company - McCleallan’s Brewing Company - Moonlight Pizza & Brewpub - Mountain Tap Brewery - Odell Brewing Company - Old Town Distilling Co. - Pagosa Brewing Company & Grill - Purpose Brewing and Cellars - Rails End Beer Company - Ratio Beerworks - Sanitas Brewing Company - Snowbank Brewing - Soul Craft Brewing - Spirit of the Rockies Distillery - St. Vrain Cidery - Steamboat Whiskey Company - Stem Ciders - Still Cellars - Strongwater - Telluride Brewing Company - Twenty Brew Taphouse - Upslope Brewing Company - Vino Colorado Winery - Wibby Brewing - Wild Cider

Grasses in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - US Fish and Wildlife Service

Hiker in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - US Fish and Wildlife Service