Brewbound Podcast Episode 38: New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer on Building Brands and Reaching New Drinkers

For years, many drinkers have mistakenly referred to New Belgium Brewing as the “Fat Tire Brewery.”

“Some people would still call us that,” New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer said during a recent Brewbound Podcast interview.

Fat Tire, the company’s flagship beer, was a staple at craft beer bars and liquor stores across the country in the early 2000s, which led many consumers to believe it was the company’s namesake offering.

The fact that several drinkers skipped over the words “New Belgium” on the label didn’t matter as much when there were fewer than 7,500 craft breweries competing for attention.

Today, however, Fechheimer said many other craft breweries — including New Belgium — are stuck debating whether to be a “house of brands” or a “branded house.”

Having well-defined brands that can stand on their own – for example, calling a beer Voodoo Ranger versus New Belgium IPA — allows the company to have different conversations and to establish different relationships with consumers, Fechheimer argued.

“From a marketing perspective, that’s really powerful,” he said.

At the same time, however, Fechheimer would love if drinkers also worked their way through New Belgium’s portfolio after discovering one of the company’s priority brands (Fat Tire, Voodoo Ranger and Mural Agua Fresca Cerveza)

In episode 38 of the Brewbound Podcast, Fechheimer discusses the internal tug-of-war between creating new brand identities and leveraging New Belgium’s already well-established name. He also explains how New Belgium plans to rebound from a difficult 2018 and discusses the company’s plan for working more closely with underrepresented communities.

Listen to episode 38 of the Brewbound Podcast above, as well as on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, and Soundcloud. New episodes of the Brewbound Podcast, which is co-hosted by Chris Furnari and Justin Kendall, are published every Thursday.

Episode 39, featuring Matthew Osterman, the founder of Denver’s Sleeping Giant Brewing Company, will be released on Thursday, June 6.

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