New Belgium Brewing Company
|Industry||Craft beer and Brewing|
|Founder||Jeff Lebesch, Kim Jordan|
Number of locations
|2 breweries: Fort Collins, CO, and Asheville, NC|
|Distributed nationwide in the U.S.|
|957,968 US barrels (2016)|
|Revenue||$245 Million (est.) in 2015|
|Owner||100% Employee Owned|
Number of employees
New Belgium Brewing Company, a 100% employee-owned craft brewery located in Fort Collins, Colorado and Asheville, North Carolina, is the maker of Fat Tire Amber Ale and many other craft beers. It was opened in 1991 by Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan. In 2016, it produced 957,968 barrels of its various labels. As of 2017, it was the fourth-largest craft brewery and eighth-largest overall brewery in the United States.
Fat Tire, an Amber ale, is the company's flagship beer. The brewery is also one of the largest producers of wood-aged sour beer in the United States; its sour beer flagship is La Folie Sour Brown Ale.
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 because they 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.
- Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale, an amber ale, New Belgium's flagship beer
- Fat Tire Belgian White, a Wit bier
- Citradelic, Tangerine IPA
- Glütiny Pale Ale, a gluten-reduced ale
- 1554 Black Ale, a Belgian dark beer
- Abbey Belgian Ale, an abbey dubbel beer
- Trippel Belgian Style Ale, a Belgian-style tripel
- Sunshine Wheat, an American-style wheat ale (listed as 'retired' in the 2017 press release but also noted as 'label change only')
- Voodoo Ranger IPA (new in 2017)
- Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA (new in 2017)
- Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Ale (new in 2017)
- Dayblazer Easygoing Ale (new in 2017)
- Citradelic Exotic Lime Ale (new in 2017)
- Tartastic Lemon Ginger Sour Ale (new in 2017)
- New Belgium Bohemian Pilsener (new in 2017)
In 2017 the following beers were retired:
- Blue Paddle Pilsner, a Czech-style pilsener, replaced with the Bohemian Pilsener
- Ranger IPA, an India pale ale (IPA), replaced with the Voodoo Ranger IPA
- Rampant Imperial IPA, an American double/imperial IPA, replaced with Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA
- Shift Pale Lager, an American pale lager
- Slow Ride, a session IPA
- Sunshine Wheat, an American-style wheat ale, replaced by Fat Tire Belgian White
New Belgium also makes various seasonal and limited-edition beers.
Before 2002, New Belgium distributed in only 16 states; by 2015, it had become the fourth-largest craft brewer in the country and the eighth-overall largest brewer in the United States.
As of March 2015, New Belgium was distributed in Sweden.
As of October 2016, New Belgium was available in 45 states.
As of August 2017, New Belgium was available in 50 states.
As of February 2018, New Belgium is distributed in Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Sweden and Norway.
New Belgium began constructing a 100,000 square-foot distribution center and second brewery in 2014 in Asheville, North Carolina. The brewery's potential capacity is 500,000 barrels per year. The facility went online in May 2016. In 2017, the Asheville Liquid Center, Brewery and Distribution Center achieved LEED Platinum, Gold and Silver certifications, respectively.
Business and production
New Belgium's main brewery is in Fort Collins. In 2013, New Belgium had some 480 employees and more than $180 million in sales. It has had an employee stock ownership plan since 2000 and in January 2013 became 100 percent employee-owned through an ESOP. The 2014 documentary We The Owners examined New Belgium's focus on employee-ownership and how that shapes its overall culture of collaboration. 2016 saw new additions to the brand, debuts of Voodoo Ranger and Day Blazer line and new partnership with Red Rocks.
New Belgium is known for its quirky corporate culture; the company employs eight "carnies," who work the brewery's Tour de Fat fundraising events, in addition to chemists, microbiologists, electricians, forklift operators, and engineers. The company has low (3 percent) annual employee turnover, and a tenth of the brewery's employees may take extended leave in any given year. Employees who become part-owners of the business are recognized at an annual Ownership Induction Ceremony and are presented with a cruiser bicycle recalling the company's symbol. The company was named one of the "25 Most Audacious Companies" by Inc. magazine.
In May 2014, New Belgium began work on a second brewery in Asheville, North Carolina, which became fully operational in May 2016. The brewery is positioned along the French Broad River on Craven Street in Asheville's River Arts District. New Belgium's brewery, which is 133,000 square feet, has capacity to produce up to a half-million barrels of beer. New Belgium plans to invest $175 million in the new facility over seven years. Excluding construction jobs, New Belgium plans to employ 154 workers.
Most of New Belgium's beer labels were initially designed by Anne Fitch, a watercolorist whose work appeared on all New Belgium beers for 19 years. In 2006, Fitch artwork appeared on each of the over 125 million bottles sold by New Belgium, In 2010, however, New Belgium unveiled its four-beer Explore Series, whose labels featured a different design. Kim Jordan, the president of New Belgium Brewery, credits the success of New Belgium Brewery in part on Fitch's artwork: "Our beers were good, our labels were interesting to people, and we pretty quickly had a fairly robust following."
Business and energy practices
The brewery started in Fort Collins Colorado. 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 1998 New Belgium Brewing made it a goal to offset 100% of its electricity through the city's wind-power program. 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 15% of the brewery's power comes from methane gas created as a byproduct of their on-site water treatment plant. An additional 3% comes from a 300 kW solar array on the brewery's packaging hall in Fort Collins. In 2018, New Belgium Brewing was recognized as one of "the 50 most sustainable companies in the world" at the SEAL Business Sustainability Awards.
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.
In 2008, Outside magazine named New Belgium Brewing Company the best place to work in America in the 250+ employee category. Company culture and perks were mentioned in the accolade and such examples include the brewery's Wellness Committee planning activities, such as bike tours, for employees to participate in. In Outside’s The Best Places to Work 2013 list, New Belgium Brewery was ranked 17th and listed as having 484 employees.
- "Bios" (PDF). New Belgium Brewing. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- "New Belgium Brewing". Inc. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- "New Belgium FAQ". New Belgium Website. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
- "Brewers Association Releases 2017 Top 50 Brewing Companies By Sales Volume". Brewers Association. March 14, 2018. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
- Bryer, Amy (7 July 2006). "New Belgium Brewing rolls out icon tied to Fat Tire beer". Denver Business Journal. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
- "Best Canned Beers to Drink Now". Esquire. Yahoo! News. 2012-02-22. Archived from the original on 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
- "GRAFF(T): Seattle Cider, Two Beers and New Belgium Brewing release collab next week". BeerPulse.com (Press release). New Belgium Brewing Company, Two Beers Brewing Co., Seattle Cider Company. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
- "New Beers Coming for 2017". www.newbelgium.com. Retrieved 2017-06-09.
- Wallace, Alicia (23 March 2018). "All hail The Hemperor: New Belgium Brewery launches hemp beer". The Cannabist. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- "The Hemperor HPA beer - New Belgium Brewing". www.newbelgium.com. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- New Belgium Brewing bringing its craft beer to Mississippi, Feb. 21, 2014.
- Europeans are embracing American craft beer so why are exports trailing?, Feb. 15, 2018.
- Leigh Buchanan, The 25 Most Audacious Companies: It's All About Ownership, Inc., Apr. 18, 2013.
- Company history
- We The Owners
- New Belgium Brewing to start work on $175m Asheville facility, DBR, March 17, 2014.
- Tony Weiss, Asheville brewers cheer planned New Belgium expansion in River Arts District, Asheville Citizen Times, April 6, 2012.
- Living on Earth: Green Brewery Accessed March 21, 2008
- Interview with Kim Jordan Beerscribe.com Accessed 3/21/08
-  Entrepreneur.com Jennifer Wang 11/2009
- "New Belgium, Sustainability". Retrieved April 28, 2006.
- "City of Fort Collins, Wind Power Program". Archived from the original on April 15, 2006. 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.
- "Most Sustainable Companies Honored At 2018 SEAL Awards". SEAL Awards. 2018-11-13. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
- "New Belgium Saves Gas, Water with Closed-Loop Brew Kettle". Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
- Arnold, Katie (2008-05-07). "The Best Places to Work in 2008". Outside Online. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
- "New Belgium Brewing Company; 2007 Sustainability Report" (PDF). 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-29. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- "The 100 Best Places to Work in 2013". Outside Online. 2013-07-31. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
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