Brown Palace Celebrates 24th Annual Champagne Cascade

Brown Palace Champagne Sabres


Imagine a Champagne waterfall, created with over a pyramid of 6,000 coupes in the lobby of a prestigious hotel. On Sunday, The Brown Palace did just that as they ushered in the holiday season with the 24th Annual Champagne Cascade Celebration, a running tradition dating back to 1988.

The stacked glasses paid homage to socialite of the French court, Madame de Pompadour, who is thought to be the first to have them constructed during parties at Versailles. Also present were two gentlemen wielding Champagne sabres that exhibited the opening of bottles with beautiful and striking precision to begin the ceremony in dramatic fashion. Champagne sabrage is a technique that dates back to the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte, when victory on the battlefield required celebration, but a sommelier was not present to prepare the wine for drinking.

Champagne Cascade

Each year, the Brown Palace partners with an organization in the Denver community to emphasize its dedication to greatness, by donating proceeds from the event to the cause. The 2011 partner, Colorado Volunteers of America, received upwards of $6,000 that will fund several programs including assistance for homeless veterans, and battered women’s shelters. In addition, the VOA collected myriad toys for their Christmas Basket initiative.

Denver’s elite were in attendance among the crowd of several-hundred spectators, who were all graced by the presence of Governor John Hickenlooper during the opening words. Hick expressed his gratitude towards the hotel as being a not only a Denver staple, but a world-class establishment that should be recognized across the globe. He reminisced in sharing a story of his first few weeks in the city of Denver, where he stayed at the Brown Palace–and as a compliment to the outstanding service of the paramount staff–he stated that, “I thought I arrived in heaven.”  The Governor, who helped found Wynkoop Brewing Company, also made a comment on how cool it would be if the Brown Palace used beer to create the cascade. We knew there was a reason to love this man.

The moment the crowd had been waiting for arrived as the general manager of the Brown Palace, Marcel Pitton, poured the first bottle into the tower of coupes creating a wave of  “oohs” and “ahhs.” The governor also added to the deluge of Champagne while spectators continued to watch in amazement. As one may assume, they did not fill the entire tower, much due to the fact that it would take over 1000 bottles to achieve a complete cascade. With warm wishes to all that attended and a happy holiday season, the ceremony wrapped up with Mr. Pitton thanking the guests for yet another year of this wonderful tradition, and to expect something very special for next year’s 25th anniversary.

A very big thank you to The Brown Palace for hosting, and to Moët Hennessy for providing the Champagne for this amazing event! Cheers!


About Jim Halligan

Jim is a modern day conquistador. When not teaching his three parrots to speak Italian, he spends time poking flags in things and calling them his own.