Left Hand Brewing Company
Beers from Left Hand Brewing Company currently at the Mayor:Good Juju Travelin' Light Kölsch
Our story started in December of 1990 with a small homebrewers kit. Dick Doore, the co-founder of Left Hand, received the kit as a Christmas present from his brother. According to Dick, “it was all downhill from there.” His obsession with homebrewing led him back to Colorado in August of 1993, where he met up with a former college buddy and soon-to-be Left Hand co-founder, Eric Wallace.
It didn’t take the too long to start brewing beer. Dick had been homebrewing for years, and Eric had traveled extensively internationally, seeking out great beers wherever and whenever he could. After brewing several batches that impressed their friends and lucky neighbors, they became more confident in their craft. It was only after drinking quite a lot of really good dry stout that Eric had brewed that they had their epiphany: “Let’s start a brewery.”
A few weeks later, in September of 1993, we incorporated as Indian Peaks Brewing Company, in honor of the serrated ridges and jagged peaks of the Indian Peaks wilderness that you can see nearby. Then the search for the location was on ñ from Golden to Loveland. In November of that year, ëhome’ became a former meat packing plant nestled next to the St. Vrain River near downtown Longmont. In just a few weeks, the brewery was starting to take shape, labels were being produced, and kegs and bombers were purchased. The place was hopping. However, the euphoria was quickly sidelined when a conflict of interest surrounding the brewery name surfaced. Indian Peaks was being used by another brewery for a beer style. So, not wanting to start off on the wrong foot, we quickly changed the name of the company to Left Hand, in honor of Chief Niwot, whose tribe wintered in the local area. (The name Left Hand is derived from the southern Arapahoe word “Niwot” meaning left hand.)
Finally, close to 6 months after Dick and Eric first had the epiphany to start Left Hand, we opened our doors for business on January 22, 1994. Our first batch of beer was Sawtooth Ale (still kicking after all these years!). It didn’t take long for the public to notice that we were brewing great beer. In October of that year, at the Great American Beer Festival, Left Hand took home 2 medals, a Gold Medal in the Bitter Category for Sawtooth Ale, and a Bronze Medal in the Robust Porter Category for Black Jack Porter. We were on our way!
Over the next several years we started to grow. We added people. We added machinery. We added several styles that are still with us today: Good Juju Ale and Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout. And we had a few styles that we remember fondly: Ambidextrous Ale, Motherlode, Maid Marion and Deep Cover Brown Ale. In 1995, we were able to start putting our logo on bottle caps. But when it came down to shrinking down the original logo to put on a crown, you couldn’t read it. We created a small hand to be the logo. It morphed into a sticker, and eventually into the company logo as you see it today.
Fast forward to 1998 one of the most interesting years to date for Left Hand. We merged with Tabernash Brewing from Denver in April. We doubled the size of the brewery later that spring. In June, we started packaging 12 oz. bottles for 6-packs (we had only been bottling 22 oz. bombers and kegs to that point). And in November we started our own distribution business, Indian Peaks Distribution Company. Absolute craziness to say the least. The next 10 years added some interesting chapters in the life of the brewery to be sure. Tabernash was phased out and Indian Peaks Distribution Company was sold, allowing us to do what we do best ñ brew beer. So, in 2008/2009 we put in a new three vessel 60 bbl brewhouse and five 180-bbl fermenters, allowing us to brew up to 35,000 bbls/year. That expansion should last us a few years!
All that hard work has paid off. Here it is, 2010, and we’re prospering and growing like never before. Since we started out 17 years ago, we’ve racked up 15 medals & 1 honorable mention at the Great American Beer Festival, 8 medals at the World Beer Cup (including Gold in 2006 & 2008 for Milk Stout), 3 medals at the European Beer Star (2 gold), a Gold Medal at the International Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival, and a growing loyal customer base in over 29 states and 11 countries.
We couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks to all the Left Hand fans around the world. We raise a pint to you and your discriminating palate. Cheers.