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]
OwnerLion Little World Beverages
Number of employees
703 (2018)[2]

New Belgium Brewing Company is a nationally distributed brewery in the United States owned by an international beverage conglomerate. 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] In 2019, New Belgium was acquired by an Australian subsidiary of the Japanese Kirin beverage group, Lion Little World Beverages.[4][5][6]


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]

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."[7] The company's new logo "pays homage to the well-known Fat Tire brand bicycle" drawn by Anne Fitch.[7]

Esquire selected Fat Tire Amber Ale as one of the "Best Canned Beers to Drink Now" in a February 2012 article.[8]

The brewery makes 14 year-round beers:[9][promotional source?][10][promotional source?]

  • Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale, an amber ale, New Belgium's flagship beer
  • Fat Tire Belgian White, a Witbier, and the only other beer sold under the Fat Tire product line (introduced in 2017, retired in 2021)
  • 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, these beers were retired:

  • Blue Paddle Pilsner, a Czech-style pilsner, replaced with the Bohemian pilsner
  • 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

In March 2018, the brewery announced the Hemperor HPA, a hemp pale ale, in development for 3 years, debuting on April 2.[11][12][promotional source?]

New Belgium also makes various seasonal and limited-edition beers. The Up Next series recently included a Brut IPA, Peach Kick, and a Passion Fruit Kölsch. Within the Voodoo lineup, limited releases are called "rotators", such as the Pumpkin IPA, the Hop Avenger, and Starship IPA.[13]


Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado in 2007
Brewery in Asheville, North Carolina in 2017
New Belgium breweries in Fort Collins (top) and Asheville (bottom)

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.[14]

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.[15]

In April 2019, Fat Tire and Voodoo Ranger IPA began to be sold in Tottus supermarkets in Lima, Peru.[promotion?]

New Belgium began constructing a 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) 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.[citation needed]

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.[16] It has had an employee stock ownership plan since 2000 and in January 2013 became 100 percent employee-owned[16] through an ESOP.[17][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.[18] 2016 saw new additions to the brand, debuts of Voodoo Ranger and Day Blazer line and new partnership with Red Rocks.[promotional source?]

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.[16] 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.[16] 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.[16] The company was named one of the "25 Most Audacious Companies" by Inc. magazine.[16]

In May 2014, New Belgium began work on a second brewery in Asheville, North Carolina, which became fully operational in May 2016.[19] The brewery is positioned along the French Broad River on Craven Street in Asheville's River Arts District.[20] 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.[19] New Belgium plans to invest $175 million in the new facility over seven years.[19] Excluding construction jobs, New Belgium plans to employ 154 workers.[20]

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.[7] In 2006, Fitch artwork appeared on each of the over 125 million bottles sold by New Belgium,[21] 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."[22]

Business and energy practices[edit]

Brewery interior

The brewery started in Fort Collins Colorado. The brewery was founded by 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.[citation needed]

In 1998 New Belgium Brewing made it a goal to offset 100% of its electricity through the city's wind-power program.[23][promotional source?] 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.[24][25] About 15% of the brewery's power comes from methane gas created as a byproduct of their on-site water treatment plant.[26] 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.[27]

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.[28]

In 2008, Outside magazine named New Belgium Brewing Company the best place to work in America in the 250+ employee category.[29] 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.[30] In Outside’s The Best Places to Work 2013 list, New Belgium Brewery was ranked 17th and listed as having 484 employees.[31]


  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. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Community | New Belgium Brewing". Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  4. ^ Udell, Erin (2019-11-19). "New Belgium Brewing Company to sell to Kirin's global beverage empire". Coloradoan. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  5. ^ Shikes, Jonathan (2019-11-19). "New Belgium Brewing Sells to Kirin, Ending Decades of Independent Ownership". Westword. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  6. ^ Hefty, Jennifer (2019-11-19). "New Belgium founder: Sale 'not the last chapter' for Fort Collins brewer". Coloradoan. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Best Canned Beers to Drink Now". Esquire. Yahoo! News. 2012-02-22. Archived from the original on 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  9. ^ "GRAFF(T): Seattle Cider, Two Beers and New Belgium Brewing release collab next week". (Press release). New Belgium Brewing Company, Two Beers Brewing Co., Seattle Cider Company. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  10. ^ "New Beers Coming for 2017". Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  11. ^ Wallace, Alicia (23 March 2018). "All hail The Hemperor: New Belgium Brewery launches hemp beer". The Cannabist. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  12. ^ "The Hemperor HPA beer - New Belgium Brewing". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  13. ^
  14. ^ New Belgium Brewing bringing its craft beer to Mississippi, Feb. 21, 2014.
  15. ^ Europeans are embracing American craft beer so why are exports trailing?, Feb. 15, 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Leigh Buchanan, The 25 Most Audacious Companies: It's All About Ownership, Inc., Apr. 18, 2013.
  17. ^ Company history
  18. ^ We The Owners
  19. ^ a b c New Belgium Brewing to start work on $175m Asheville facility, DBR, March 17, 2014.
  20. ^ a b Tony Weiss, Asheville brewers cheer planned New Belgium expansion in River Arts District, Asheville Citizen Times, April 6, 2012.
  21. ^ Living on Earth: Green Brewery Accessed March 21, 2008
  22. ^ Interview with Kim Jordan Accessed 3/21/08
  23. ^ "New Belgium, Sustainability". Archived from the original on April 28, 2006. Retrieved April 28, 2006.
  24. ^ "City of Fort Collins, Wind Power Program". Archived from the original on April 15, 2006. Retrieved April 28, 2006.
  25. ^ "City of Fort Collins, Commercial Subscribers". Archived from the original on March 14, 2006. Retrieved April 28, 2006.
  26. ^ "New Belgium, Process Water Treatment Facility". Archived from the original on March 20, 2006. Retrieved April 28, 2006.
  27. ^ "Most Sustainable Companies Honored At 2018 SEAL Awards". SEAL Awards. 2018-11-13. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  28. ^ "New Belgium Saves Gas, Water with Closed-Loop Brew Kettle". Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
  29. ^ Arnold, Katie (2008-05-07). "The Best Places to Work in 2008". Outside Online. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  30. ^ "New Belgium Brewing Company; 2007 Sustainability Report" (PDF). 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-29. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  31. ^ "The 100 Best Places to Work in 2013". Outside Online. 2013-07-31. Archived from the original on 2017-04-08. Retrieved 2017-04-07.