It seems like damn near daily I have reasons to feel lucky about living in Denver. Last week when I sat down with Joe-Michael Wright, owner of the new Hugo’s Colorado Beer & Spirits, I had another reason to add to the list.
Hugo’s is a new beer/liquor store opening at 1205 E. 13th Ave (13th and Downing) that will focus on Colorado craft beer, some national craft beers–especially rarities and hard to find items–and Colorado distillery offerings.
Slated to open mid-June, the 1,500 square foot space promises a one-stop shop for all your Colorado beer and liquor needs. There is currently no plan to feature wine, but it will be considered for future product expansion. The store will have 12-15 cooler doors, keeping most of the beer chilled with the majority of shelf space reserved for liquor. It will be organized much in the vein of a high-end wine shop. That is, the beer will be organized by brew style vs. brewery. Finally, I will be able to find all the IPAs, or stouts that I have somehow missed instead of searching just by brewery–a brilliant idea, in my opinion.
Wright was inspired to open the shop when he was searching for Colorado beer on a road trip to Santa Fe. Looking at the ways local shops in that area merchandized specialty and regional products, it dawned on him that Denver was missing a huge opportunity to showcase one of its best products. Upon returning from the road trip, Wright began looking for space, conducting some market research with both consumers and local breweries, and soon put Hugo’s in motion. Named after Wright’s influential grandfather, Hugo’s will maintain a neighborhood feel with knowledgeable staff and comparable pricing to its closest competitor, Argonaut.
Wright has some amazing ideas for potential future plans. Some ideas, such as growler filling stations and selling brewery merchandise products, will require legislative change; but other fantastic ideas, like glassware appropriate to beer type, targeted books and magazines, tastings, home brew classes, and cocktail how-to classes, can be relatively simple to implement, and will meet a desire that I know the Denver drinking community has.
And yes, for those of you wondering, Wright will keep some space for Coors, the Colorado brew that started it all.