- Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lynde McCormick were friends.
- Hickenlooper was sad to learn that Lynde had died.
- Lynde, while Business Editor of the Rocky, played a role in the birth of Hick’s brewpub.
Gov. John Hickenlooper still has the Rocky Mountain News article the newspaper’s then Business Editor Lynde McCormick ordered, which played a crucial role in launching Wynkoop Brewing Co. and kicking off the brewpub craze in Colorado.
It was in the late 1980s, and Hickenlooper, a laid off geologist, was re-inventing himself as a restaurant owner that would serve beer that it brewed on site.
Lynde, who died in Denver on Dec. 27 at age 64, in the ‘80s was in a book group with Hickenlooper that included Mark Stevens, a former Rocky and Denver Post reporter, and is now a mystery writer. Lynde and Stevens were longtime friends.
When Lynde was at the helm of the Business section, the Rocky was the largest daily newspaper in Denver. It shut its doors for good in February 2009, years after Lynde left it and the newspaper business.
“Lynde got a call one morning from a competing group that had some of the same money people as we had,” Hickenlooper said on Monday, after returning from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Hickenlooper, who had worked to change the state law allowing brewing and selling beer on the same premise, was at a disadvantage because the competitor already had a lease signed, floor plans in place and more money.
Wynkoop Brewing, at 1634 18th St., pre-dated Coors Field and by no stretch of the imagination was considered a restaurant hot spot, especially for an untried concept.
Even Hickenlooper’s mother thought it was too risky to invest in.
The competitor offered Lynde an exclusive, but warned if he passed, he would give it the Denver Post, Lynde told Hickenlooper. At the time, Hickenlooper did not feel he quite far enough along to make a big splash in the press.
“Lynde had known for eight months that I was working on Wynkoop’s,” Hickenlooper recalled. “He called me, told me what was going on and sent over a reporter, Kimberly Mayer.”
“The next day, the Rocky Mountain News put a big picture of us on the front page of the Business section and our would-be competitor was on the jump page on page 7 with a little teeny picture and probably three paragraphs,”Hickenlooper remembered.
“It was one of those rare things. It was just fate that I knew Lynde and we liked each other,” Hickenlooper said.
The feeling was mutual. Lynde had long been a big fan of Hickenlooper’s, thinking he was one of the more original characters he had met.
“Unlike so many people you meet, Lynde was always curious,” Hickenlooper said. “He was always direct. I never saw him or heard of him trying to say one thing to one person and another thing to another person.”
Not only was he straightforward, but Lynde was a good listener who cared what others thought and how they reached their conclusions, according to the Governor.
“In our book club, he was a very good listener,” Hickenlooper said. “He probably listened more carefully than anyone else. His questions and comments were always very thoughtful and insightful.”
Hickenlooper was sad and shocked when he learned from InsideRealEstateNews that Lynde had died after about a seven-month illness.
“It’s sad,” Hickenlooper said. “He was a good person. He believed in progress. He felt there was a line between good and evil and we all had an obligation to address that. He was kind of old-fashioned in that respect.”
Hickenlooper knew that Lynde had left print journalism and the Rocky Mountain News, even before that industry started its slide, to join a short-lived Christian Science news channel in Boston and then as a business anchor in Hong Kong.
“When in Asia, he got involved in that crazy Chinese antique import and export business,” with his wife, Andrea, Hickenlooper exclaimed.
What was a surprise to him is that Lynde followed in Hickenlooper’s footsteps and opened two restaurants in New York City.
“I did not know that,” Hickenlooper said.
“But Lynde always had a twinkle in his eye about something.”
Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee Co. and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.