FORT COLLINS, CO — When New Belgium Brewing co-founder Kim Jordan first realized she would need to leave social work to focus on the business of running a brewery, it took a tremendous leap of faith. Yet Jordan quickly discovered that many of her skills translated perfectly to building a new kind of corporate culture in the burgeoning world of craft beer. This year, Jordan and 385 co-workers are celebrating 20 years of business that has experienced phenomenal growth and helped shape the craft brewing landscape.
New Belgium’s 20th anniversary is June 28, 2011, marking a time of reflection and an exciting look to the future. New Belgium has evolved from a basement brewing operation into the third-largest craft brewer in the U.S. with sales in 26 states.
New Belgium’s growth trends reflect the overall rise of craft beer as a category. In 2010, New Belgium sold more than 661,000 barrels which is 30,000 barrels more than all craft brewers sold in 1990, the year before New Belgium opened shop.
New Belgium’s Annual Barrelage:
2001 – 229,000 – 39.6% growth
2002 – 253,000 – 10.5%
2003 – 285,000 – 12.6%
2004 – 331,500 – 16.3%
2005 – 370,300 – 11.7%
2006 – 437,400 – 18.1%
2007 – 476,100 – 8.8%
2008 – 493,200 – 3.6%
2009 – 582,800 – 18.2%
2010 – 661,000 – 13%
AVG 15.2% annual growth
“It’s been a tremendous ride,” said Jordan. “We started out just trying to produce sixty cases a week to survive, and it has far exceeded our wildest dreams.”
Over the years, many organizations have recognized New Belgium for its high involvement culture, environmental and bicycle advocacy and breaking new ground in wood and sour beer styles in the US. Recently, the brewery was named one of the most democratic workplaces in the country (World Blu) and one of the Best Places to Work in America (Winning Workplaces/Outside Magazine). New Belgium also enjoys a 97 percent employee retention rate.
The employee-owned company, a member of 1% for the Planet, is working on healthy watersheds through its Save The Colorado campaign and has raised more than $1.5 million for bike advocacy non-profits through its Tour de Fat and Clips of Faith programs. The League of American Bicyclists has designated New Belgium Brewing a Platinum Bicycle Friendly Business over the last four years and co-workers receive a custom New Belgium cruiser on their one-year anniversary.
With deep market penetration in 26 existing states, the brewery has plans to open up three new territories in 2011: Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC. New Belgium is also expanding its wood beer facility and canning capacity in Fort Collins.