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Great Divide Brewing's viral video sensation

It may seem like a throw back to the days of gold chains, chest hair, and bell-bottoms, but the new viral video featuring the Denver-based brewery is a recent creation.  The video (posted below) features detectives Turk Smorgenson and Bannister McCloud heading to the Great Divide Tap Room after a long day of giving criminals the boot.  The theme is somewhere in between an old "Miller Time" commercial and the Sabotage music video from the Beastie Boys. 

Great Divide's patrons include some very creative film types.
Great Divide Brewing Co.

Did GD make this video as a viral internet marketing campaign?

Great Divide founder Brian Dunn was as surprised as anyone when he discovered the production.

“I was so surprised and shocked, but it was great,” Dunn said. “People sometimes review beers on video, and they’ll send it to us. That’s more factual — what they’re noticing about the beer. This is the first time someone has ever made a commercial for us.”

So if Great Divide didn’t produce the spot, who did? Turns out Dunn recognized the faces behind the mustaches — longtime customers and friends David Thomas and Brian Yuhnke, co-workers at CU Online, the University of Colorado Denver’s web-based school. The two had recently finished working with an intern on a spoof video about online learning; it starred the 70s cops seen in the Great Divide tribute.

“We already had these two characters we liked and we thought it would be fun to do this,” Thomas said. “It took about one hour after work, from start to finish, to shoot the footage.”

“This was just us doing something for fun that we love,” Yuhnke said.

“But it came out so good, we got excited about it,” Thomas said. “It’s the ultimate fan video.”

The crew at the bar gave the shooting their blessing, and only requested that the guys keep the video a secret so that Dunn would be surprised.

“It shows they have a huge amount of interest in their beer if they choose to do that in their spare time. We’re honored they did it,” Dunn said. “I was impressed by their creativity. They’re always thinking about some way to do something better and different. I thought it was super well-done. We’re nowhere near being able to do a TV commercial, but theirs was a great angle, a great idea. I love it. They make me laugh.”

With or without fan-produced “advertising,” Great Divide is having a more-than-okay year. Production is up 90 percent over last year. “And Colorado is up 63 percent over last year,” Dunn said. “It’s nice to see the home market growing at a healthy clip.”

The recent addition of three new tanks took annual brewing capacity from 16,000 barrels to 24,000 barrels; another tank coming in September will raise the limit to 27,500 barrels. Product-wise, Great Divide has two new styles arriving in August: a wood-aged IPA and a smoked Baltic porter.

As for Thomas and Yuhnke, their hobby might be growing, too. They’re toying with the idea of producing another fan video for a favored establishment. Stay tuned.

(A very special thank you goes out to Jay Dedrick of Colorado BIZ Magazine for the interview with Brian Dunn)


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