Beer! Boulder’s History on Tap

Tasty exhibit. Boulder History Museum’s BEER! Boulder’s History on Tap has a full-bodied, hoppy bite with a kick.

The temporary exhibition, in 500 square feet, features the history of beer in Boulder County, Colorado…a history that embodies the craft beer movement. Interactive spinning graphic barrels feature a playful approach to telling today’s beer story. Boulder’s history from pre-prohibition through the lifting of the city’s “dry” status in 1967 takes a light-hearted approach with highly entertaining and graphic cartoons. Graphics are based on classic beer labels with “less filling” text.

Visitors can handle beer ingredients and connect them to the varieties on the changing tap wall.

Studio Tectonic provided exhibit planning, design, copy editing, and fabrication/installation.


Boulder History Museum


Boulder, CO


Cultural History



Women's Christian Temperance Union
Beer has a rich and complex history in Boulder—a prime opportunity for great storytelling. The exhibit is both intimately local and nationally relevant.
Fun Graphics at History of Beer Exhibit

Boulder was both early to adopt prohibition (1907) and late to end it (1967). The prohibition movement was largely shaped by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). The exhibit uses playful graphics, often referencing historical moments.

Black and white photo: National Park Service Archives
Leading Beer Innovation

After home brewing was nationally legalized in 1979, the beer industry boomed in Boulder County. The community’s do-it-yourselfers—many already brewing in secret—rushed to the new opportunity. What began in kitchens and garages moved into larger production and knowledge-sharing. Several of these early adopters have become nationally known and distributed beers and still are produced in Boulder, Colorado.

Nearby Coors Brewing played an important role as well in these early days. The company’s experimental beer makers shared ingredients and expertise, many of whom were also home brewers.

Boulder Beer Brewing 1983
First tasting of Boulder Beer, 1980 / Courtesy of Boulder Beer
Graphic about Boulder's Beer Culture

Boulder is also home of the national Brewers Association which promotes and protects craft brewers, particularly through the internationally known Great American Beer Fest.