Raising a craft beer brand takes a village. From the brewmaster to the kettle cleaner, a craft brewery depends on a variety of local-grown workers to keep its business running and successful. Nowhere is that truer than with New Belgium Brewing Co. Since it was opened in Fort Collins, Colo., in 1991, New Belgium has grown to be the eighth largest brewery in the United States, and those employees who have made New Belgium so successful are now its owners.
According to a report by the Washington Post, New Belgium announced the milestone Tuesday, a day after its 456 employees got the news at their annual winter retreat. The article continues: “The company is the nation’s third-largest craft brewer and has been partly owned by its workers since 2000, but co-founder Kim Jordan and her family held a controlling interest until now. Jordan and the rest of the company’s executive team plan to stay on. With so much consolidation in the industry, managing director Michael Harden says he expects other craft brewers to consider employee ownership to remain independent.”
In other news, New Belgium is building a second plant in Asheville, N.C., that will begin producing beer in 2015. We’ll keep you updated.