Brewpub owner/mayor?

Craft brewing pioneer John Hickenlooper was easily the leading vote getter Tuesday in the ballotting for mayor of Denver and in June will take on second place Don Mares in the mayoral run-off.

Hickenlooper racked up 43% of the vote, easily topping leading second-place winner Mares, who garnered 22% of the ballots. Mares, 46, immediately attacked Hickenlooper’s lack of political experience. “I don’t know what it’s like to become a multimillionaire at the expense of taxpayers,” Mares said, adding that Hickenlooper secured “low-interest city loans for risky business ventures.”

Hickenlooper said voters do not want a career politician leading the city. Mares, an attorney, served in the state legislature before being elected auditor in 1995.

“There’s a real hunger out there for people who want a fresh perspective and new ideas,” Hickenlooper said. “Don comes from the government side of things, and I come from the private sector side of things. I think there will be clear choices without having to (go negative).”

Hickenlooper co-founded Wynkoop Brewing in Denver, the first brewpub in the Rocky Mountains, in 1988 and went on to partner in opening brewpubs as far east at Buffalo, N.Y., and consult on the opening of still more. He owns several Denver restaurants as well at Wynkoop, which for years as attracted hundreds of brewers during the Great American Beer Festival each October.

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