I recently read a blog about the saturation point of the beer industry in Bend, Oregon which made me think about the Front Range area in Colorado.
The Front Range are the east facing of the Rocky Mountains and dissects the state traversing north to south. There are four major cities that lie east of the Rockies that are the home to the micro-brewing industry, Ft. Collins, Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs. In each of these cities are the suburban towns that encompass them. Boulder has Longmont, Erie, Lafayette, Louisville, Superior, Golden, and in these towns the microbrewery industry has moved into virgin territory.
Boulder has been a hub for microbreweries for many years with the founding of Boulder Beer. There are around 9 breweries, 4 brewpubs, and hand full of decent tap houses, just in Boulder. The city of Boulder has a population of 100,000 give or take a few and it's land area is 24.6 square miles but when you add in the other towns that make up Boulder County there are 305,000 people with 726 sq miles of land.
You can see that it will be able to sustain more breweries and brewpubs when you consider that the trend is for what I'd like to call neighborhood hangouts. The out skirting towns have one brewery that becomes the local favorite. Where I live in Lafayette, two breweries are all ready making an impact on the neighborhoods and there's another that will be ready for business sometime this fall.
As of this year or even in the next couple, I think that the breweries that make decent beers will be around while the ones that are riding the tide won't. It's all about supply and demand.