DENVER — Among the broad diversity of Denver’s Pride Parade, there’s one thing that’s exclusive: the beer.

A group of craft breweries that wanted to participate in the event learned that this year.

Denver’s annual Pride Parade is actually named the Coors Light Denver Pride Pride Parade.

“Back in March, we reached out to the organizers of the Denver Pride Fest, and we wanted to get a group of craft breweries together to show our support and march in the parade,” said John Cross, co-owner of Call to Arms Brewing on Tennyson Street in Denver.

John Cross, co-owner of Call to Arms Brewing
John Cross, co-owner of Call to Arms Brewing

“For us, it was a no brainer,” he said. “We have a lot of fantastic LGBTQ customers, we’ve always been super excited to have a safe space, a comfortable tap room.”

Yet, when Call to Arms approached the event’s organizers, they were told they wouldn’t be allowed to participate.

“Turns out they have a long-standing relationship with a huge national brewery, so we were informed, unfortunately, as other breweries, we couldn’t participate in the festivities down there, which we totally understood,” Cross said.

A spokesperson for the Center on Colfax, which organizes Denver Pride events, confirmed MillerCoors is a sponsor of the parade and has an exclusivity agreement with the event.

Coors Brewery in Golden
Coors Brewery in Golden

The company has supported the Center on Colfax since the mid-90s, the spokesperson said, and has been the name sponsor of the parade for the last five or six years.

“We hope as many people as possible participate in this year’s Pride weekend because it’s a celebration that brings the Denver LGBTQ and ally community together,” National LGBTQ Community Affairs Manager for Miller Coors Michael Nordman wrote in a statement to Next with Kyle Clark.

“Coors Light has been a sponsor of the Center on Colfax and the Pride Parade and Denver PrideFest for nearly two decades. We are incredibly proud to continue supporting the Center’s vital programs and services that positively impact the LGBTQ community,” he wrote.

“These big companies have to protect their interest,” Cross said. Though the co-owner of the small craft brewery said he isn’t sure how his business would impede MillerCoors business.

The brewing giant can produce about 63 million barrels of beer each year, according to the company’s website.

“I don’t think our 740 barrels a year is a threat to them,” Cross of Call to Arms said.

Cross got together with other craft breweries in the area to organize a new event during pride weekend. Billed as ‘the world’s tiniest pride parade’, the Brewer’s Light Pride Parade will step off at 3 p.m. on June 15, the afternoon before the Coors Light Denver Pride Parade on Sunday, June 16. 

Party event in Denver, CO by Call to Arms Brewing Company on Saturday, June 15 2019 with 197 people interested and 64 people going.

“I just want people to know that the craft beer industry, we want to be inclusive we want everyone to be part of craft beer,” Cross said.

You can find more information about PrideFest and the Coors Light Denver Pride Parade here.

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