I received an email this morning touting the upcoming 20th anniversary of Fort Collins, Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing. I remember this company starting up not long after I began covering the US beer market, so the two decades thing seems about right, but what shocked me is how big this wonderful brewery has become.
Hands up everyone whop would have guessed that NBB brewed 661,000 barrels last year! (All New Belgium employees put your hands back down, you don’t count.) That’s pretty stunning increase from the 229,000 barrels they brewed at the start of the century, and enough to place them as the third largest craft brewer in the United States, behind Boston Beer and Sierra Nevada. And they’re only in 26 states, where those other two are national!
I know, most of that beer is their flagship Fat Tire, the ale so many of the presumed “beer cognoscenti” like to dismiss as boring, entry level stuff. But: a) Fat Tire is not so easily dismissed, and a fine quaff on a thirsty day; and b) The brewery has been really stepping it up with their other brands lately, notable their fine Ranger IPA and their barreled brews, for which they have just expanded — yet again — their wood-aging facility.
The official anniversary is June 28. Mark it on your calendar and raise a glass to co-founder and ceo Kim Jordan (seen above) and the whole crew at New Belgium.