Colorado and Denver Manufacturing account for about 7.34% of the total output in the state, and manufacturing employs 5.67% of the workforce.
The advanced manufacturing in Colorado includes a number of key segments, including petroleum, chemical, and coal products. There are also appliances and components, fabricated metal products, food and beverage, electronics and computers, furniture, machinery, rubber and plastic products, apparel and textiles, and allied and leather products. The state is at the forefront of advanced manufacturing and focuses on job creation in manufacturing.
Due to the state’s talented workforce and entrepreneurial ecosystem, it has created a premier hub for the industry. The manufacturing workforce in Colorado includes a large pool of well-educated and skilled workers. When looking at the age distribution across industries, the manufacturing industry has a larger share of employees who are between the ages of 35 and 64 years old. More than half the Denver Manufacturing related jobs in Colorado require a high school diploma or an equivalent, and 20% of these jobs require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Many of the jobs, about 67%, require on the job training. The Colorado higher education system works to help with the workforce in manufacturing, and the state offers a range of specialized, scientific, and technical degrees. With the mix of two year, four year, and private and religious accredited institutions, there are nearly 300 manufacturing related programs throughout the state to help provide for the workforce.
There are some key factors that make the Denver Manufacturing industry successful in Colorado. There is access to highly technical and scientific workers. The state ranked sixth for the area of high tech wages, and tech workers in Colorado earn 98% more than the average private sector worker. The state’s central location in the U.S. allows for convenient access for air travelers in every North American city, and the location makes it a good midpoint between Frankfurt and Tokyo to help the state serve the world markets. There is plenty of existing land available, as well as low energy costs, which makes it a great place for a lot of manufacturing to take place. With the Colorado manufacturing industry doing so well, the amount of products that can be manufactured there seem endless and there are quite a few. It can be hard to list out every product that is manufactured in the state and products range from food to toys and games to machinery, but we wanted to pick a few top products to hone in on.
Food and Beverages
Beer is one of the main things manufactured in the state, since the state is home to Molson Coors and dozens of craft breweries. However, there is a lot of other food and beverages that are produced. Ardent Mills manufactures baked goods, mixes, and flours. Bobo’s Oat Bar company manufactures their oat bars in a Boulder facility and has been doing so since 2013. Boulder Organic soups are manufactured in the state and are sold in supermarkets across the Midwest. Boulder Sausage of Louisville makes fresh pork and sausage products that don’t have any preservatives or MSG.
Tea is another popular beverage manufactured in the state, as Celestial Seasonings tea company is based in Boulder. The brand serves more than 1.6 million cups of tea every year and manufactures teas with 100 different ingredients from over 35 different countries. Elevation Gourmet, based in Denver, creates organic ketchup that uses a family recipe in place for generations. Noosa Yoghurt, a popular yogurt brand that wins people over with unusual flavors and full fat products, is also manufactured in the state. Pickles from the Real Dill can be made in a Denver location. Udi’s products, a popular line of gluten free products, are manufactured in the state. Ball Corp. has a beverage packaging plant in Broomfield. Wild Zora jerky is manufactured in Fort Collins, Colorado, and this popular jerky is Whole230 approved and paleo, with grass fed beef and no hormones or antibiotics.
Clothing and Accessories
Ghost Rider Boots are handmade and custom western boots produced in the state. They may use older machines to do so, but the designs are new and custom made for you. Handcrafted hats are manufactured by Greenley Hat Works. Knotty Ties are handmade in Denver. Even shoes are made in Colorado by SOM Footwear. These shoes are manufactured entirely in the town of Montrose and are high quality barefoot inspired sneakers. The company offers factory tours for those who are in the area. Sometimes products that are manufactured in the state are also inspired by Colorado itself. The creator of English Retreads handbags got the idea for vegan and stylish handbags while floating in an inner tube down Boulder Creek.
A number of different machines are manufactured in the state to provide for different industries. Colorado Corp helps make indirect air conditioning units that are energy efficient. Ice-O-Matic manufactures commercial ice machines and ice storage bins. Broomfield based Mainstreet Pedicabs manufactures human powered cycle taxis, cargo trikes, and vending vehicles. EarthRoamer makes luxury expedition vehicles. Ravenbrick, located in Denver, manufactures solar intuitive, smart glass windows.
Delta-13 manufactures the top billiard rack in the industry at their sister manufacturing company, Tag Team Manufacturing, located in Parker, Colorado.
Spacecraft devices for Ball Aerospace are built in a Boulder plant. A new A2100 satellite is being worked on in Jefferson County by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.
Toys and Games
Liberty Puzzles manufactures deluxe wooden puzzles. Curt Mangan Strings creates handmade electric and acoustic guitar strings. Sphero is a Boulder company that makes the toy version of the BB8 droid from Star Wars.
FW Manufacturing makes case goods for the hospitality and hotel industries, as well as cabinetry for the multifamily and builder markets. Tuff Shed is Denver based and, while they do manufacture products at multiple locations across the country, there are also some manufactured in Colorado. Little Colorado produces furniture for children with a goal to make quality wood furniture for an affordable price.
Scott’s Liquid Gold and the range of cleaning products is manufactured in Denver and has been since 1970. Thristies makes training pants and cloth diapers that are sold across the country.
With so many products manufactured in the state, Denver Manufacturing is still the primary driver in the Colorado economy, even though it is not as important as it used to be. It makes sense given what manufacturing does. If a factory is selling the widgets it manufactures across the world, then it not only creates jobs at a factory, but also indirectly creates jobs at the retail shops and grocery stores where the products are sold. It also benefits the utility that sells electricity to the factory in the first place. In 2015, there were almost 5,000 manufacturing companies in the state that produced about $23 million worth of goods!