New Belgium to Expand Reach on East Coast in 2016


New Belgium Brewing today announced it would begin distributing in New Jersey next March, opening the new territory alongside previously scheduled rollouts in Hawaii and West Virginia.

In a press statement, the Fort Collins-based brewery said it has signed agreements with five different wholesalers for coverage throughout the state, including: Hub City Distributing, Kohler Distributing, Peerless Beverage Company, Shore Point Distributing Company (Coors), and Kramer Beverage Company (Coors).

The brewery plans make its Jersey debut by offering mainstays like Fat Tire, Ranger IPA, Side Trip Pale Ale, Citradelic IPA, Rampant, and Slow Ride Session IPA in a variety of draft and package options. A broader portfolio, including Lips of Faith, will roll out in the second quarter.

Distribution in New Jersey is set to follow the long-awaited opening of the company’s second production facility, in Asheville, N.C.. New markets paired with additional production capacity should help aid softening sales of flagship Fat Tire, which are down 2.8 percent through November 1, according to market research firm IRI Worldwide.

In an October interview with Shanken News Daily, newly-appointed CEO Christine Perich indicated that 2015 will likely be the first year of decline in company history.

“It’s probably going to come in around 930,000 barrels this year,” she told the outlet. “Last year, we grew substantially and it was semi-painful for us. We’re at maximum capacity in Fort Collins and we’re trying to get Asheville up and running so we’ve been very thoughtful about how we manage volume this year.”

New Belgium produced more than 945,000 barrels in 2014 and, while Perich claims 2015 is “a capacity-management year,” sales of the company’s seasonal offering are also down more than 11 percent through November 1, according to IRI.

“Beyond 2016, we’ll have the capacity in Asheville and the ability to ramp up that site. We can definitely hit our million-barrel goal,” Perich told Shanken News. 

Capacity management notwithstanding, New Belgium has been steadily entering new markets over the last two years. New Jersey will mark the company’s tenth addition since brewery founder Kim Jordan said, in 2013, that New Belgium would be a nationally distributed brand by 2018.