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A bike trip through Belgium in 1988 inspired a young couple to bring the flavors of centuries-old Belgian beer to the town of Fort Collins, CO.
After a bike trip through Belgium, co-founders Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch are inspired to bring Belgian brewing traditions to their hometown.
Kim and Jeff install brewing equipment in the basement of their Fort Collins home. They also trek into the Rocky Mountains and establish New Belgium's core values, which were inspired by Kim’s career as a social worker.
With brewing underway, Kim is New Belgium's jack-of-all-trades as the first bottler, sales rep, distributor, marketer, financial planner and longtime CEO. Kim would eventually scale the brewery into one of the most successful craft breweries in the country, acting as a visionary for both her co-workers and the industry.
Kim and Jeff begin test brews of two beers: an amber ale—lovingly named Fat Tire—and a Belgian-style dubbel called “Abbey.” Later that month, both beers are sold for the first time at the Colorado Brewers' Festival.
Abbey Ale wins a gold medal in the Specialty Category at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. At the time, Belgian-style beers were so rare in the craft beer scene that they didn’t even have their own category.
Having outgrown the three-year-old production facility, New Belgium relocates a few blocks down the street to our current brewery and taproom location.Visit Us
New Belgium starts off the new year with a new tradition: New Belgium-branded anniversary bikes, beginning with a 1999 Electra cruiser. The tradition of awarding co-workers with a cruiser on their one-year anniversary continues today.
New Belgium's first batch of La Folie Sour Brown Ale, is hand-bottled and sold. This inaugural batch was aged in a collection of French-oak wine barrels. A few months later, the brewery would receive its first batch of two-story French-oak foeders, transforming its sour beer program.Learn More
New Belgium creates an in-house sustainability department, which would go on to establish the brewery as a Certified B-Corp and 1% for the Planet member, while spearheading on-site projects like the installation of solar panels and a wastewater treatment facility. The department was inspired by one of New Belgium's core values: we inspire social and environmental change.Learn More
New Belgium implements what at the time is the largest private solar array in the state of Colorado, capable of generating 3% of total electricity needs and 16% of peak load. These efforts continue today.
New Belgium becomes 100% employee owned. The ESOP buys the remaining shares from CEO Kim Jordan and her family, and goes from 41.5% ownership to 100% ownership, with a total of 457 co-workers.
Just in time for summer, the Asheville brewery opens to the public, bringing the New Belgium experience to the East Coast.Visit Us
NPR's How I Built This interviews Kim to explore how she helped take New Belgium from her basement to the nation with her unique business model.Listen Now
Lauren Limbach, our wood cellar director, receives the prestigious Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing from the Brewers Association. Learn more about Lauren and her pioneering beers in this episode of the Good Beer Hunting podcast.Listen Now
New Belgium employees vote in favor of Lion Little World Beverage acquiring New Belgium Brewing with a commitment to continuing our “force for good” mission. "We’re excited to welcome New Belgium Brewing into our global family of craft beverage brands. Since meeting the New Belgium team, we’ve been incredibly impressed not just with their commitment to world-class beer and the way they bring their brands to life, but their purpose-led business model and connection to the community – all values we share at Lion,” - Matt Tapper, Managing Director of Lion Little World Beverages.
After nearly three decades of striving to reduce our impact, Fat Tire becomes America’s first certified carbon neutral beer.Learn More