Mile Hi Beer

Mile Hi Beer was “Brewed in the Heart of the Snowclad Rockies.”

Do you ever think about how many beers are brewed in the mountains? Or have mountains for artwork? Or have slogans that refer to cold, ice or mountains? There are a lot, and in our searches for vintage cans, we come across a lot of old beers that share this theme.

This got us wondering what the fascination was about, but it didn’t take long to find the answer. The early breweries needed easy access to water, so were often located near rivers, but they also needed ice. In the early and mid 1900s it was common for breweries to also own ice houses, but prior to 1900, the only way to get ice was to harvest it from the mountains (an interesting fact that hadn’t occurred to us!). Naturally, this limited beer production in the warmer months. With the invention of the ammonia condenser and the first form of commercial refrigeration at the turn of the century, the brewing process got a little easier.

Tivoli Brewing from Denver is responsible for producing Mile Hi Beer during the 1950s as a flat top, non-opening can. Like many of the big breweries, Tivoli changed hands and names a number of times from its start in 1859 until its closure in 1969. The brewery endured a loan foreclosure, a flood, and a labor strike as well, but pressed on. In the early 1980s the structure was repurposed as a retail center and bar; in the 1990s it became the student union building for the Auraria campus; and in 2012 was acquired by a businessman who reopened the brewing operation in 2015 as a craft brewery at the exact same location as the 1859 Tivoli plant.