Since the legalization of recreational marijuana went into effect in 2014, Colorado’s cannabis industry has grown exponentially, and is now bigger than the entire GDP of some small countries. Every year, weed is legalized in more and more places around the US and the world, but since Colorado, along with Washington, was the first state to legalize recreational cannabis consumption, it will always hold a special place in the history of the marijuana industry and in the hearts of weed-enthusiasts everywhere. Visitors to Colorado will find the iconic green cross that symbolizes dispensaries at nearly every turn in resort towns and major cities, marijuana-themed gifts and novelties at lots of local souvenir shops, and the tell-tale scent of happy smokers that wafts from windows and into the streets. Dispensaries are staffed by knowledgeable budtenders who are happy to teach customers about their wide variety of products, and help people choose which one is perfectly suited for them.
Visitors and locals alike can explore the dispensaries of Colorado on their own, or with the help of several well-established tour companies like Loopr , which takes guests to dispensaries, restaurants, bars, and more, all from the comfort of a luxury tour bus where you can feel free to sit back and smoke on their way to the next location.
There are now more than 90 craft distilleries in Colorado, many of whom try to focus on locally sourced ingredients to create a unique taste and style you won’t find anywhere else. The most well known of Colorado’s distilleries is Stranahan’s, a whiskey distillery in Denver which produces fantastic craft whiskey and offers great tours of their facilities, but it’s far from alone when it comes to great liquor. Some other recognizable Colorado distilleries include Breckenridge, which at 9,600 feet elevation is the world’s highest distillery and is best known for its amazing blended Breckenridge Bourbon whiskey, and Deerhammer Distillery in Buena Vista, which has won awards for some of its whiskey, gin, and brandy varieties.
While the Rockies aren’t quite as well known as other regions like Napa Valley in California, the abundance of sunshine and the sheer variance of climates within the state means that vineyards and wineries are thriving in their creation of some really unique and delicious high-altitude wines. There are some really fantastic wineries on the Western Slope as well as in the Front Range, and many of them offer tours and have beautiful tasting rooms where you can enjoy a taste of their fine products.
We saved the best for last, because if there’s anything that Colorado is known for when it comes to alcohol, it’s beer. The biggest and most well known of Colorado’s many breweries is undoubtedly Coors, the massive beer giant that also brews recognizable names like Keystone and Blue Moon, from its facility in Golden, Colorado. The Coors facility offers great tours (and free samples!) but it’s far from the only beer to be found in the Centennial State.
When it comes to having the most breweries in the state, Colorado comes in at number three, with an estimated 7 breweries per 100,000 people. With well known breweries like New Belgium in (maker of Fat Tire), and Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing Company, as well as small microbreweries, brewpubs, and experimental craft beer projects at every turn, Colorado is a beer lover’s paradise. If you’re looking to plan your visit around beer, keep in mind that there is no shortage of beer-themed events happening within the state throughout the year. The city of Fort Collins holds the Colorado Brewers’ Festival every summer during June to award excellence in Colorado state brewing. Even more of a grand spectacle is the Great American Beer Festival, a national competition and celebration of the craft beer industry which is held every September in Denver and features over 800 breweries from all over the country. Tickets to these events tend to sell pretty fast, but even if you don’t get your hands on one for the official event, it’s pretty easy to create your own Beer-Fest in Colorado whenever and wherever you want by visiting one of the many craft beer bars, or local liquor store to take the local goods home with you. .