|Industry Alcoholic beverage|
Area served North America
|Founder Dick Doore
Headquarters Longmont, Colorado, United States
The Left Hand Brewing Company is a craft brewery located in Longmont, Colorado.
Left Hand began in December 1990 with a homebrewing kit founder Dick Doore received from his brother. According to Dick, "it was all downhill from there." By 1993, Dick had teamed up with college buddy Eric Wallace and they resolved to start a brewery.
On September 21, 1993, they incorporated as Indian Peaks Brewing Company, and purchased a former meat-packing plant next to the St. Vrain River outside downtown Longmont, Colorado. A few weeks after beginning production, it was discovered that the name Indian Peaks was already in use by another Brewery, so the name was changed to Left Hand, in honor of Chief Niwot (the Arapahoe word for "left hand") whose tribe wintered in the local area.
Left Hand's doors opened for business on January 22, 1994. Their first batch of beer was Sawtooth Ale, which has since become their most popular brew. In October of that year, Left Hand took home two medals at the Great American Beer Festival, a Gold Medal in the bitter category for Sawtooth Ale, and a Bronze Medal in the Robust Porter category for Black Jack Porter. In 1995, the brewery was able to start putting its logo on bottle caps. But when it came down to shrinking down the original logo to put on a crown, the design was illegible. Left Hand created a small hand to be the logo. It morphed into a sticker, and eventually into the company logo used today.
The year 1998 offered big changes for the still young brewing company. In April, Left Hand merged with Tabernash Brewing, and doubled the size of their brewery. In June, they began packaging 12 oz. bottles for 6 packs (up to that point they had been bottling 22 oz. bottles and kegs exclusively). In November, they started their own distribution business, Indian Peaks Distribution Company. The next 10 years added some interesting chapters in the life of the brewery. Tabernash was phased out and Indian Peaks Distribution Company was sold, allowing Left Hand to focus and redirect their energy back to brewing.
In recent years, the brewery has experience significant growth. With over 30% growth in 2010, Left Hand has steadily increased its production, making the Brewers Association’s Top 50 Craft Brewers list in 2012. What started as a humble brewhouse extension in 2008, turned into a 5-year, $9 million expansion, as the brewery expanded to meet demand. The brewery has added six 480 barrel fermenters, an additional 500 barrel bright tank, and a new KHS keg line. Moreover, Left Hand has also expanded the brewery property, purchasing the warehouse across Boston Avenue to house offices as well as the site of a new 6,000 square foot cooler, bringing the total brewery acreage to 5.5 acres. In the fall of 2012, Left Hand welcomed their most anticipated renovation, a new bottling line that runs four times faster than their previous system and fills 200 bottles per minute.
On the first night of the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, Left Hand introduced Milk Stout Nitro in a bottle, making it both the first American and the first craft brewery to bottle a nitrogenated beer without a widget. Two years later, Left Hand expanded the bottled Nitro series with Sawtooth Nitro and Wake Up Dead Nitro.
Since the Left Hand Brewing Company started out 21 years ago, they've racked up 24 medals at the Great American Beer Festival, 9 World Beer Cup awards, 7 European Beer Star Awards, and a growing loyal customer base in 29 states, D.C. and throughout Europe & Japan.
Left Hand produced approximately 65,879 barrels in 2013.
Note: all active beers are available in 6 packs of 12 oz bottles unless otherwise noted.