GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - With a multi-million dollar expansion in the works for Kannah Creek Brewing Company, a prestigious win at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver last week means extraordinary things for the Grand Junction-based business. Kannah's brewers took home a silver medal for their Lands End Amber beer.
"I was shaking when I heard," Kannah brewer Emma Faulkner said. "A win is a big deal."
Kannah's Amber brew competed against 34 other entries in a beer festival which boasted 84 categories, 666 breweries and 4,338 beers entered. The Great American Beer Festival is not only a widely celebrated beer competition, but it's also a public tasting with more than 49,000 attendees at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver over multiple days. And it's also thought to be the largest commercial beer competition in the world.
"The Professional Judge Panel awards gold, silver or bronze medals that are recognized around the world as symbols of brewing excellence," the Great American Beer Festival website said. "These awards are among the most coveted in the industry and heralded by the winning brewers in their national advertising."
A silver medal came as good news for Kannah Creek's partners - Eric and Tina Ross and Jim and Bernadette Jeffryes. They recently embarked on an extensive project to introduce Kannah Creek's beer to a broader audience. Ground broke on a south-downtown Grand Junction site four weeks ago, where they plan to produce their beer, bottle it and distribute it around the state and even nationally. The facility, which will also feature a tasting room and a different menu from Kannah's 12th Street restaurant, will be located near Grand Junction's Western Colorado Botanical Gardens on Struthers Avenue.
"It's nice timing for a medal," co-owner Eric Ross said. "We won a medal for the Amber in 2010 at the World Beer Cup, but this gives us a current medal. And current medals are good statements for quality beer."
Kannah's Lands End Amber beer, along with its Standing Wave Pale Ale, will be the first two brews produced at Kannah's new facility when it opens in May 2013. Ross also said seasonal brews will be bottled as the business grows.
According to Ross, the site for Kannah's new brewing facility has long been in the works. The property has been owned by the Jeffryes for more than a decade, and it's been a dream for the brewpub to expand for a long time.
Upon completion of Kannah's production facility, Ross estimates that at least 20 new employees will be hired. Kannah Creek Brewing Company currently employs 40 Grand Valley residents.
Kannah Creek Brewing Company is located at 1960 N. 12th St. in Grand Junction. Visit its website, www.kannahcreekbrewingco.com, or like it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KannahCreekBrewingCompany.