Nearly a year after long-time brewmaster Peter Bouckaert announced he would depart New Belgium, the Fort Collins-headquartered craft brewery today named Christian Holbrook as is its new production brewmaster.
According to his LinkedIn account, Holbrook assumed the new role in January. In that new role, Holbrook, a 15-year New Belgium veteran, is in charge of overseeing the company’s brewing operations at its production facilities in Fort Collins and Asheville, North Carolina, as well as its 10-barrel pilot brewery at The Source Hotel in Denver, which is slated to open this summer.
New Belgium director of communications Bryan Simpson told Brewbound that Holbrook isn’t necessarily filling the void left by Bouckaert, who departed the company last May after 21 years to help lead upstart Fort Collins craft brewery Purpose Brewing and Cellars.
“In many ways Peter Bouckaert was hired to be Peter Bouckaert, and nobody else will ever be Peter,” Simpson wrote in a email. “Christian brings more than 15 years of brewing experience to the role and a fresh perspective at the same time.”
Simpson said Holbrook’s responsibilities will include overseeing the technical and production elements of brewing. He will also help work with New Belgium’s pilot and innovation brewing teams to develop new pilot recipes.
In a press release, New Belgium COO Joe Davis added: “Christian is a respected leader in the brewing industry and we believe our craft credentials and future are in good hands under his leadership.”
Holbrook most recently served as a quality assurance specialist for brewing and raw materials at New Belgium, a position he held for eight years. His previous roles with the company include brewer (September 2006 to June 2010) and cellar operator (August 2003 to October 2006), according to LinkedIn.
“My brewing experience to this point has been totally in the craft brewing industry, so my heart and soul is 100 percent in craft beer production and understanding and meeting the needs of this dynamic industry and the diverse group of people who love New Belgium beer,” Holbrook said via the release. “I am excited to continue working with our incredibly talented group of co-workers to bring new beers to life, continue our pursuit of quality in research and innovation, and to discover what the future holds for us as an independent American craft brewer.”
New Belgium ranked as the fourth-largest domestic craft brewery last year, according to the the Brewers Association. However, the Colorado beer company produced 955,000 barrels of beer last year, down from 958,000 barrels in 2016. This past February, the company slashed 4 percent of its workforce in part due to slowing sales of craft beer.
In January, New Belgium named Shaun Belongie its new vice president of marketing. Last July, the company hired Steve Fechheimer, the former chief strategy officer at Beam Suntory, a subsidiary of Japan’s Suntory Holdings, as its CEO.
A press release with additional information is included below.
New Belgium Brewing Names Christian Holbrook Production Brewmaster
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (April 27, 2018) – New Belgium Brewing is proud to announce the appointment of Christian Holbrook as Production Brewmaster. Boasting an impressive resume of brewing credentials, Holbrook will oversee brewing operations at New Belgium’s Fort Collins, CO, and Asheville, NC, locations, as well as New Belgium’s highly anticipated 10-barrel pilot brewery at The Source Hotel in Denver.
Most recently Quality Manager of Brewing Raw Materials at New Belgium, Holbrook is an experienced brewer with a long and successful track record in the American craft beer industry. Holbrook has been with New Belgium for the past 15 years, working in all areas of brewing operations at the 100% employee-owned brewery.
“Christian’s vast brewing knowledge and experience will be invaluable to us as we continue to grow our business,” said Joe Davis, New Belgium’s COO. “Christian is a respected leader in the brewing industry and we believe our craft credentials and future are in good hands under his leadership.”
Holbrook holds a Master’s Degree in Brewing Science from University of Nottingham (UK). In addition, he serves on numerous industry organization Technical Committees and Boards of Directors, including the American Malting Barley Association, Brewing & Malting Barley Research Institute, The Hop Research Council, and The Hop Quality Group. Holbrook has also presented at the Craft Brewers Conference, World Brewing Congress and Master Brewers Association of the Americas.
“My brewing experience to this point has been totally in the craft brewing industry, so my heart and soul is 100 percent in craft beer production and understanding and meeting the needs of this dynamic industry and the diverse group of people who love New Belgium beer,” Holbrook said. “I am excited to continue working with our incredibly talented group of co-workers to bring new beers to life, continue our pursuit of quality in research and innovation, and to discover what the future holds for us as an independent American craft brewer.”
Holbrook has already transitioned into his new role at New Belgium as the brewery celebrates 27 years of producing world-class beers. As a 100% employee-owned B Corp, New Belgium continues on its mission to demonstrate that business can be a force for good.
About New Belgium Brewing
New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work, one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses and tops Bicycling Magazine’s Best Companies for Cyclists. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire Amber Ale, New Belgium brews sixteen year-round beers: Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Fat Tire Belgian White, The Hemperor HPA, Voodoo Ranger IPA, Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale, Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA, Sour Saison, Honey Orange Tripel, Dayblazer Easygoing Ale, Tartastic Fruit Beer Series, 1554 Black Lager, Bohemian Pilsner, Abbey Belgian Style Ale, Trippel and a gluten-reduced beer, Glutiny Pale Ale. To learn more, visit NewBelgium.com and follow the brewery on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.