New Belgium Brewing Company
|Headquarters||Fort Collins, Colorado, USA|
|Production output||712,800 US barrels (2011)|
New Belgium Brewing Company is a regional brewery located in Fort Collins, Colorado. It opened in 1991 after Jeff Lebesch, the brewery's founder, took his homebrewing passion commercially. In 2011, it produced 712,800 barrels of its various labels. As of 2010, it was the third-largest craft brewery and seventh-largest overall brewery in the United States.
Fat Tire, an amber ale, is the company's flagship beer.
The Fat Tire recipe originates from a co-founder's bicycle trip through Belgium from brewery to brewery. The company promotes its Fat Tire ale locally by the public placement of colorful vintage bicycles outside its brewery, which is located adjacent to the public bike path along the Cache La Poudre River.
In 2006 NBB changed its logo. They did so because the company realized that beer drinkers could identify the Fat Tire label, but "didn't recognize the brewery label, or make the connection that New Belgium brewed Fat Tire and other best-selling brands, such as Sunshine Wheat." The company's new logo "pays homage to the well-known Fat Tire brand bicycle" drawn by Anne Fitch.
Before 2006, New Belgium distributed in only 16 states (Washington, Michigan, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Colorado). New Belgium expanded operations in 2002 to be able to distribute to California.
In spring 2006, the brewery began to distribute some of their beers in other markets. Bottles of Fat Tire distributed in Chicago claim "Chicago Inaugural: The 1st Fat Tire Ale served (legally) in the second city." In June 2007 Fat Tire, Skinny Dip, 1554 and Mothership Wit became available in Illinois. By the summer of 2007, New Belgium expanded distribution again to include Iowa and select areas of the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metro area in Minnesota. Beginning in July 2008, Fat Tire, 1554, Mothership Wit, and seasonal brews are also served in Tennessee. In March 2009, these beers also became available in North Carolina. In April 2009, in response to huge demand, Fat Tire became available in Indiana. In May 2009 Fat Tire became available in Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
In 2011, the company added Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. to its territory, bringing the total distribution to 29 states. New Belgium Brewing began distribution in Michigan in August 2012. In 2013, New Belgium began distribution into Louisiana and Florida starting with 22 oz. bottles, and later on introducing 12 oz. bottles and kegs In Louisiana.
New Belgium beer labels are designed by Anne Fitch, a watercolorist.
Kim Jordan, the President of New Belgium Brewery, credits the success of New Belgium Brewery in part on Anne's artwork, "Our beers were good, our labels were interesting to people, and we pretty quickly had a fairly robust following." In 2006, her artwork appeared on each of the over 125 million bottles sold by New Belgium; the company's new brewery will allow the company to double production.
Business and energy practices
The brewery was founded by husband-and-wife (now divorced) team Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan in 1991 and emphasizes eco-friendly practices and employee ownership in its marketing materials. It is located in northeast Fort Collins near the Cache la Poudre River on the grounds of the former Great Western Sugar plant.
In 2008, New Belgium Brewing Company was named the best place to work in America by Outside Magazine. This could be attributed to the brewery's efforts to ensure the "wellness" of their employees. Once a month the brewery's Wellness Committee meets to discuss activities, such as bike tours, for employees to participate in.
New Belgium Brewery has made it a goal to be entirely wind-powered. Rather than directly using wind-generated power, the brewery elects to pay an increased rate for their electrical energy, which is supplied by the City of Fort Collins Utilities to ensure it comes from the cleanest source possible. About 10% of the brewery's power comes from methane gas created as a byproduct of their on-site water treatment plant.
The brewery also uses an energy-efficient kettle for the brewing process. The Steinecker Merlin kettle heats twice as quickly by boiling thin sheets of wort in the entire kettle at once. This provides significant savings in natural gas consumption.
Tour de Fat
Tour de Fat is a bicycle parade and festival sponsored by New Belgium. The events, which take place annually in various large- and medium-sized cities around the West, include music, New Belgium beer, new circus- and vaudeville-type acts, bicycle dance troupes, and the main activist spectacle, a giant group bike ride/parade wherein the participants, many costumed fancifully, ride through town. The activist climax of the tour, however, is the bike trade, in which a local participant transfers the keys and title of their motor vehicle to New Belgium in exchange for a new commuter bike and trailer in order to promote bike riding and sustainability. The "Fat Tire" bike is so strongly associated with New Belgium Breweries that employees of the brewery are given a 'cruiser bike' "like the one pictured on its Fat Tire Amber Ale label" on their one-year anniversary with the company.
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- "Brewers Association Releases 2010 Top 50 Breweries Lists". Brewers Association. April 13, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
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- "Best Canned Beers to Drink Now". Esquire magazine via Yahoo news website. 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
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- "New Belgium Brewing, makers of 'Fat Tire,' begin Michigan distribution Aug. 27". thenewsherald.com. 2012-08-23. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- "New Belgium enters Louisiana on April 1". nola.com. 2013-02-08.
- Fat Tire to Join Other Craft Beers Sold in Ohio. dispatch.com Retrieved 2013-8-26.
- Interview with Kim Jordan Beerscribe.com Accessed 3/21/08
- Living on Earth: Green Brewery Accessed March 21, 2008
- New Belgium Brewing's new plant adds capacity Denverpost.com Tom McGhee. 06/19/2007. Accessed March 21, 2008
-  Entrepreneur.com Jennifer Wang 11/2009
- "New Belgium, Sustainability". Retrieved April 28, 2006.
- "City of Fort Collins, Wind Power Program". Retrieved April 28, 2006.
- "City of Fort Collins, Commercial Subscribers". Archived from the original on March 14, 2006. Retrieved April 28, 2006.
- "New Belgium, Process Water Treatment Facility". Archived from the original on March 20, 2006. Retrieved April 28, 2006.
- "New Belgium Saves Gas, Water with Closed-Loop Brew Kettle". Retrieved May 25, 2009.
- "2009 Tour de Fat". Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- "Trade your car for a bike". Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- "Brewing up Fun in the Workplace". Accessed 21 March 2008