We’ve always thought a vintage fat-tired mountain bike was a fitting symbol for Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Co. Riding a bicycle is a balancing act. If you don’t keep moving, you’re liable to fall off. Today, few craft breweries have better balance and movement than New Belgium. As one of the biggest craft breweries in the United States, New Belgium not only produces world-class beers, they promote environmental stewardship, employee-ownership and increasingly aggressive growth, like a new $175 million, 133,000-square foot brewery in Asheville, N.C.
During the last two decades, New Belgium has even been taking its fat-tired, beer-biking act on the road, in the form of Tour de Fat, a traveling tour of bicycle advocacy and hilarity in charity, which raised $647,668 for local nonprofits this season alone. Tour de Fat’s been going on for 16 years and raised more than $4 million for charities over that stretch. This year’s total is up more than $20,000 from last year. The event is free, but all proceeds from beer and merchandise sales and donations in each city go to local nonprofit organizations focused on making communities a better place to ride a bike.
“What we’ve created can be hard to describe — part alter-ego beer festival, part cycling advocacy, part amazing, and sometimes perplexing entertainment, but when you put it all together it just works,” said Paul Gruber, Tour de Fat Operations Manager. “This year we passed the $4 million mark, an incredible feat, which means great things are happening in cycling communities across the country. That’s the best part of this whole thing and we can’t wait to do it again next year.”
Tour de Fat celebrates bicycle culture, kicking off each festival with a costumed bike parade through city streets. After the parade, thousands gather for a day of eclectic entertainment, New Belgium beer, bike-themed festivities, live music, carnival variety tents and delicious local food trucks and more. At each stop, New Belgium works with local sustainability partners to divert waste from landfills, encouraging beer and bike fans to think twice about recycling.
Tour de Fat traveled to 10 cities between May and October this year, attracting a total of 112,000 beer and bike enthusiasts. New Belgium’s hometown of Fort Collins had the most festival-goers, totaling 25,000 people and the Tour de Fat stop in Denver, Colo. raised the most money ($113,305). To see how each city performed, a breakdown is included below.
Tour de Fat Breakdown City-by-City
- Total Funds Raised: $647,668 (not including auctioned car proceeds; up $21,952 from 2014)
- Attendees: 112,000 (up 8,500 people from 2014)
Washington, D.C. – May 30
- Total Funds Raised: $65,334 (up $8,287 from 2014)
- Attendees: 9,000 (up 2,000 people from 2014)
Durham, NC – June 20
- Total Funds Raised: $29,559 (up $4,135 from 2014)
- Attendees: 4,000
Chicago, IL – July 11
- Total Funds Raised: $51,141 (up $19,315 from 2014)
- Attendees: 8,000 (up 3,000 people from 2014)
Minneapolis, MN – July 25
- Total Funds Raised: $36,247
- Attendees: 5,000
Boise, ID – August 15
- Total Funds Raised: $66,556
- Attendees: 10,500 (up 500 from 2014)
Ft. Collins, Colo. – September 5 – highest attendance
- Total Funds Raised: $94,241
- Attendees: 25,000
Denver, CO – September 12 – most money raised
- Total Funds Raised: $113,305 (up $12,302 from 2014)
- Attendees: 20,000 (up 2,000 from 2014)
San Francisco, CA – September 19
- Total Funds Raised: $42,713 (up $540 from 2014)
- Attendees: 8,000 (up 500 from 2014)
San Diego, CA – September 26
- Total Funds Raised: $43,003
- Attendees: 7,500 (up 500 from 2014)
Tempe, AZ – October 3
- Total Funds Raised: $105,567 (up $5,567 from 2014)
- Attendees: 15,000
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