New Belgium Brewing Company

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New Belgium Brewing Company
TypeNational Brand
FounderJeff Lebesch, Kim Jordan[1]
United States
Number of locations
2 breweries: Fort Collins, CO, and Asheville, NC
Area served
Distributed nationwide in the U.S.
Production output
957,968 US barrels (2016)
Revenue$245 Million (est.) in 2015[2]
Number of employees
703 (2018)[2]

New Belgium Brewing Company is a nationally distributed brewery in the United States. The brand produces Fat Tire Amber Ale, Voodoo Ranger IPA, Mural Agua Fresca Cerveza, and La Folie Sour Brown Ale, among other regular and seasonal beer varieties. Founded by Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch in 1991 in Fort Collins, Colorado, the company expanded to Asheville, North Carolina, in 2016 and Denver, Colorado, in 2018.[3]


New Belgium Brewing company was founded in 1991 by Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch.[4]

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.[citation needed]

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.[5]

Lebesch left the company in 2009.[6]

As of August 2017, New Belgium was available in all 50 states.[citation needed]

As of February 2018, New Belgium was distributed in Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Sweden and Norway.[citation needed]

In 2019, New Belgium was acquired by Lion, an Australian subsidiary of Kirin beverage group of Japan. [7][8][9][10]

Business and production[edit]

New Belgium's main brewery is in Fort Collins. In 2013, New Belgium had some 480 employees and more than $180 million in sales.[11] It has had an employee stock ownership plan since 2000 and in January 2013 became 100 percent employee-owned[11] through an ESOP.[12][promotional source?] The 2014 documentary We The Owners examined New Belgium's focus on employee-ownership and how that shapes its overall culture of collaboration.[13] 2016 saw new additions to the brand, debuts of Voodoo Ranger and Day Blazer line.[citation needed]

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.[11] 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.[11] 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.[11] The company was named one of the "25 Most Audacious Companies" by Inc. magazine.[11]

Esquire selected Fat Tire Amber Ale as one of the "Best Canned Beers to Drink Now" in a February 2012 article.[14]

In May 2014, New Belgium began work on a second brewery in Asheville, North Carolina, which became fully operational in May 2016.[15] The brewery is positioned along the French Broad River on Craven Street in Asheville's River Arts District.[16] New Belgium's brewery, which is 133,000 sq ft (12,400 m2), has capacity to produce up to a half-million barrels of beer.[15]

Label design[edit]

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.[17]

In 2006, NBB changed its logo because it realised 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."[17] The company's new logo "pays homage to the well-known Fat Tire brand bicycle" drawn by Anne Fitch.[17] 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."[18] In 2010, however, New Belgium unveiled its four-beer Explore Series, whose labels featured a different design.

Brewery interior


  1. ^ "Bios" (PDF). New Belgium Brewing. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b "New Belgium Brewing". Inc. Archived from the original on 2021-06-16. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Community | New Belgium Brewing". Archived from the original on 2020-09-26. Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  4. ^ Winfrey, Graham. "Before Selling Her Craft beer Business to a Beverage Giant, She Sold it to Employees". Inc. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  5. ^ New Belgium Brewing bringing its craft beer to Mississippi[dead link], Feb. 21, 2014.
  6. ^ Laxen, Jacob (22 March 2018). "New Belgium founder Jeff Lebesch shares insights on life after beer". The Coloradoan. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  7. ^ Udell, Erin (2019-11-19). "New Belgium Brewing Company to sell to Kirin's global beverage empire". Coloradoan. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  8. ^ Shikes, Jonathan (2019-11-19). "New Belgium Brewing Sells to Kirin, Ending Decades of Independent Ownership". Westword. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  9. ^ Hefty, Jennifer (2019-11-19). "New Belgium founder: Sale 'not the last chapter' for Fort Collins brewer". Coloradoan. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  10. ^ "Our Brands: Beer, Lion Corporate". Retrieved 2022-04-13.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Leigh Buchanan, The 25 Most Audacious Companies: It's All About Ownership, Inc., Apr. 18, 2013.
  12. ^ Company history
  13. ^ We The Owners
  14. ^ "Best Canned Beers to Drink Now". Esquire. Yahoo! News. 2012-02-22. Archived from the original on 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  15. ^ a b New Belgium Brewing to start work on $175m Asheville facility, DBR, March 17, 2014.
  16. ^ Tony Weiss, Asheville brewers cheer planned New Belgium expansion in River Arts District[dead link], Asheville Citizen Times, April 6, 2012.
  17. ^ a b c Bryer, Amy (7 July 2006). "New Belgium Brewing rolls out icon tied to Fat Tire beer". Denver Business Journal. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
  18. ^ Interview with Kim Jordan Accessed 3/21/08