Former Gov. John Hickenlooper isn't the only beer king running for Colorado's U.S. Senate seat, after the Beer Institute tapped incumbent Cory Gardner an official Beer Champion.
But it was more for his thinking than his drinking, as the national trade organization for suds cited Gardner's "leadership in championing policies that provide tax relief for all brewers and beer importers and encourage free trade" Thursday.
Hickenlooper, a former brew pub operator in Denver, is one of nine Democrats vying to take on Gardner next year.
Gardner shared the beer prize with another Republican, Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, as well as two Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Rep. Al Lawson of Florida.
Gardner put out a statement Thursday that said Colorado’s beer industry supports 73,000 jobs and pays $3.8 billion in wages, delivering a $13.6 billion shot to the state's economy.
He called beer "part of our state’s identity and culture.”
“It’s important that Washington doesn’t stand in the way of its continued success," Gardner said in a statement. "I’m proud to fight for policies to help brewers grow, create jobs, and boost communities across the four corners of Colorado and throughout our country.”
Jim McGreevy, the president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Beer Institute, cited Gardner's "tireless effort on policies enable our nation’s breweries and beer importers to continue to innovate, hire more employees and contribute $328 billion to our nation’s economy.
"I look forward to continuing to work with him on issues that will allow brewers and beer importers of all sizes to brew America’s favorite alcohol beverage – beer.”