You had me at “complimentary.”

In fact, it’s a little embarrassing how excited I get about the prospect of free stuff.

A goldfish bowl full of gratis promotional lip balm (one for me, four for friends who couldn’t make it) fills me with pure joy, but I’ll take and cherish whatever you’ve got: free T-shirt, sticker, koozie, tiny Frisbee, whoopee cushion or pint of beer, even if I must drag my aching bones up the Incline to get it.

Getting a reward for doing something I was going to do anyway is the best kind of motivation, a carrot made of cake served in a keepsake mug. Or, at least, it used to be.

The pandemic mostly put the kibosh on the kinds of in-person giveaways and marketing blitzes that yield the biggest response and coolest swag, but now they’ve begun to reappear — in some cases, in a bid to help make it safer for us to get back out and about.

To help encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccination, last month brewers Samuel Adams and Budweiser announced a limited-time incentive program: free beer (to wash down that free Krispy Kreme doughnut) to anyone of age who could provide photo proof they’d gotten their shot/s. And that’s not all: The Colorado Brewers Guild is working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on a plan to host mobile vaccination clinics at breweries around the state. One of those breweries has an event lined up for this weekend.

WeldWerks Brewing Co. in Greeley has partnered with the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment to host a walk-in vaccination clinic, 1 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Show up and get the vaccine and you’ll be rewarded with a free draft beer, plus a 16-oz “I Got Vaccinated” can to take home.

Hopes are that such incentives will help boost slacking vaccine “momentum” in the Centennial State, a place where beer has a long history as an influencer, according to a statement from the brewery.

“As vaccine appointments are going unfilled across Colorado and availability is no longer a limiting factor, we’re seeing a strong correlation between higher case rates in counties where there are lower vaccination rates,” said Neil Fisher, co-owner and head brewer at WeldWerks, which plans to open a taproom on the Springs’ west side later this year.

If you’ve had your shot/s, you can still get a freebie; bring your vaccination card to the Greeley location, starting Saturday, to get a free can of “I Got Vaccinated” beer, a limited-edition batch of the brewery’s award-winning flagship Hazy IPA Juicy Bits.

Meanwhile, to get discounts and buy-one-get-one deals at more than 20 Colorado Springs breweries and restaurants, through Dec. 31, all you need to do is sign up and download the app for the 2021 Crafts & Drafts Passport at

The annual initiative aimed at boosting support of the local craft scene played out in 2020, but more quietly, with no public launch and a focus on the “people behind the scenes” in a struggling industry, their impact on both tourism and quality of life for locals. This year’s Crafts & Drafts premiered last week at a media event at ALMAGRE Venue and Bar, which served up samples of delectable eats and a signature cocktail, plus the aforementioned VisitCOS lip balm, for those in attendance.

“Last year was hard, and now we can finally celebrate the return of grabbing a drink together and catching up,” said Visit Colorado Springs’ marketing manager Melissa Williams.

And maybe even getting some freebies while we’re at it.


Stephanie Earls is a news reporter and columnist at The Gazette. Before moving to Colorado Springs in 2012, she worked for newspapers in upstate NY, WA, OR and at her hometown weekly in Berkeley Springs, WV, where she got her start in journalism.

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