Since my brother-in-law enjoys drinking different beers, I decided to take them on a 90 minute tour of the New Belgium Brewery in Ft. Collins. I am not a beer drinking, but I enjoy this tour. Every time that I take this tour, I walk away knowing that people are still living the "American Dream" of owning their own business.
In 1988, a young man named Jeff, who was an electrical engineer, took a business trip to Germany. While he was in Germany, he decided to take a few personal days and ride his mountain bike through the different villages and enjoy the various beers throughout the country.
He came back to Ft. Collins with different recipes and ingredients to create his own beers. Jeff began brewing beer in his basement. His first two well known beers were Abbey and Fat Tire.
Jeff's wife, Kim, who was a social worker by day, began marketing the beers. Their neighbor who was an artist created the first Fat Tire label. In 1996, a Belgian Brewmaster helped influence the love of sour beers.
Jeff is no longer involved with the company, but Kim who was the CEO until about a year ago now serves on the board. In December 2012, the Employee Stock Ownership Program purchased the balance of company shares, making it 100% employee-owned.
New Belgium is the fourth largest brewer of craft beer in the nation and the eighth-largest brewery in the Unites States.
As you tour this brewery and talk with the various employees, you feel the excitement and joy that these employees have in working for this company. The company currently has about 780 employees in two locations, Ft. Collins, Colorado and Asheville, North Carolina. After one year of employment, the employee receives a limited release Fat Tire Cruiser bike and after five years of employment, the employee receives a one week trip to Belgium to expand their knowledge and culture of Belgium.
New Belgium Brewing's purpose statement is "to manifest our love and talent by crafting our customers' favorite brands and proving business can be a force for good".
If you are ever in Ft. Collins or Asheville, you need to arrange a tour of the New Belgium Brewing Company. You will discover that people's dreams do come true!