Colorado Wine Industry Celebrates New Wine Packaging Law Enabling Huge Growth For The State’s Winemakers
DENVER, Colo. (May 9, 2014) – Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper today signed legislation allowing Colorado winemakers to package out of state bulk wine, bringing growth and more opportunities to expand wine on tap via kegging. Hickenlooper took part in a signing ceremony at The Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery (IMT), located in Denver’s River North Arts District, where on behalf of the Colorado Association For Viticulture and Enology (CAVE), IMT winemaker and IMT Ben Parsons, presented Gov. Hickenlooper with a wine tap and keg of Infinite Monkey Theorem wine to take back to Governor’s Mansion. Parsons also gave Hickenlooper a tour of his 20,000 case-a-year winemaking operations. Parsons, who spearheaded the changes in the law, already has plans to begin packaging operations, which will require expanding his team at the winery by up to 10 staff.
Parsons, who launched his infamous range ofcanned and kegged wines in 2011, found a need to seek changes in the law, after being approached by a number of leading distributors and out-of-state wine manufacturers who wanted to ship their bulk wine to his Denver-based winery to be re-packaged into kegs and then sent direct to customers including local restaurants across the state. Parsons set out on a course to change the regulations and did not hesitate to dive into the political and legislative process.
“This law creates opportunity for winemakers across the state, allowing us all to diversify our winemaking operations and capture business from bigger producers across the country and distributors. The State’s wine industry has the same potential for growth as beer and distilling if we can be creative. We’re excited to welcome Gov. Hickenlooper here at the winery today, and present him with some wine on tap, which is a symbol of our industry’s growth to come.”
“The new law allows to provide a whole new service and something which could become a separate business for us,” said Parsons. “I’ve been kegging my own wine since 2011, and I can see this change opening the doors for a huge amount of growth for wineries across our state. Its just another service offering and a means to grow Colorado’s wine industry.”
House Bill 14-1034, was sponsored by Rep. Angela Williams (D-Denver) and Sen. Cheri Jahn (D-Wheat Ridge), made its way through the Colorado state legislature during the 2014 session, and will enable IMT and other wineries across the state to also bottle, box or can other out-of-state wine product, before that product is then distributed in Colorado and other regional states, creating local state winemakers huge opportunities to grow their businesses and generate additional employment for the Colorado wine industry.
“We are thrilled with the efforts of our board member, Ben Parsons, to push for this new law,” said Cassidee Shull, CAVE executive director. “The freedom this allows for our wineries to package and ship wine in kegs will really change the way we do business. We are also pretty excited that there will now be Colorado wine on tap at the Governor’s Mansion.”
“HB 14-1034 enables Colorado wineries to meet customer demand for more cost-effective, quality-controlled and environmentally conscious packaging. Wineries that choose to enhance their wine production with packaging services will provide more quality jobs for Coloradans,” said Rep. Williams.
IMT has itself seen a rising trend in wine-on-tap, with increased demand for its kegged product since launching a red and white wine by the keg in September 2011. In Denver alone, IMT supplies kegs to more than 40 restaurants and bars, with customers benefitting from a lower priced but high quality glass or carafe of wine. Wine-on-tap helps reduce packaging, using less glass bottles, corks and tin capsules in addition to reducing the cost of bulk shipping of glass bottles and large kegs across the country. Instead, large quantities of wine would be shipped in lightweight plastic skin containers, a much cheaper process. Colorado Wineries will also have an opportunity to enter the keg market in an economically viable way, by utilizing other operations’ winery equipment.
The wine kegerator and tap system for the Governor’s Mansion have been made by Micromatic, the industry’s leading supplier globally of draft beer and wine dispense, along-standing partner of IMT.
Photos by Ryan Lee of Think To Make: LEFT: Ben Parsons of The Infinite Monkey Theorem presents Gov. John Hickenlooper with a Colorado wine tap and keg for Governor’s Mansion on behalf of the Colorado Association of Viticulturists and Enologists (CAVE), Ben Parsons, winemaker and president of The Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery, Denver, and Gov. John Hickenlooper. MIDDLE: (Gov. Hickenlooper signs the wine packaging bill.) Foreground row: Jim Smith of RNDC, Ben Parsons, winemaker and president of The Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery, Denver, Rep. Angela Williams (D- Denver), Sen. Cheri Jahn (D-Wheatridge). Photographer: Ryan Lee of. Think To Make. RIGHT: Ben Parsons of The Infinite Monkey Theorem presented Gov. John Hickenlooper with a Colorado wine tap and keg for Governor’s Mansion on behalf of the Colorado Association of Viticulturists and Enologists (CAVE), Gov. John Hickenlooper.
About The Infinite Monkey Theorem
Ben Parsons founded The Infinite Monkey Theorem winery in 2008 in a no-vineyard/no pretense setting in a Quonset hut in downtown Denver. He uses predominantly grapes from the Western Slope of Colorado, and the results are top-notch, well-respected accessible wines in a 29,000 sq ft urban winery located in the River North Art District of Denver. To honor Ben’s father who passed away from cancer and to continue the search for a cure, IMT has partnered with The University of Colorado Cancer Center (UCCC). The UCCC is the Rocky Mountain region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. A portion of the proceeds from each IMT bottle sold goes to this fund. Wines are available at select stores and restaurants across Colorado, New Mexico, California and Georgia, as well as nationwide via The Infinite Monkey Theorem’s online wine club.