Riding Fat Tire Cross Country

Kegging_1In 2014 New Belgium Brewing Company will officially join the Asheville, N.C. brewers as it begins construction of its second brewery. The current Fort Collins, Col. location, which is about at capacity with 920,000 barrels a year, has been the home of New Belgium since its inception in 1991. The new brewery will bring about 500,000 more barrels to consumers.

According to Bryan Simpson, New Belgium’s PR Director, the company was looking to become more accessible for its consumers. “For a long time we’ve known that we are bumping up against capacity and we’d like to operate a second brewery somewhere on the East Coast,” he said. “There are a lot of shipping benefits in that in regards to minimizing carbon impact and that kind of thing.”

New Belgium was looking up and down the East Coast with locations such as Philadelphia, Hartford and New Haven, Conn. and Burlington, Vt. “We certainly liked the centrality of Asheville as far as distribution,” explained Simpson. “It’s got a great beer culture and high-quality water to brew with. It was ideally located.”

After the team at New Belgium started doing further research, Asheville easily grew to the top of its list. With the already dynamic brewing culture in existence in Ashville, it would only make sense for New Belgium to begin building local relationships.

Solar panels at the Fort Collins location.
Solar panels at the Fort Collins location.

New Belgium hopes to take in new cultural dynamics in terms of new creations. It believes the cuisine that it will stumble upon in the location will create new opportunities for its consumer’s palates. “We just did a collaboration with Wicked Weed, which is an Asheville brewery, so there’s been some great cross pollination with that group of folks. There’s also some micro monsters in town that we’re interested in meeting up with.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to take some of the best learnings we’ve had here in Fort Collins as far as our operations and our tour, and bring it to Asheville,” continued Simpson. “They’ve already got a great beer scene in Asheville and we are looking to help enhance that. I think people go there to that region for beer tourism to a pretty good degree as they do here. This will make it more of an opportunity … more of a destination than it already is.”

The new brewery will be modeled like the Fort Collins location in terms of a paid tasting room. At the Fort Collins location it brings in food trucks to act as the “pub” aspect. The plans aren’t set for the food trucks in Asheville at the moment, but they are certainly the preferred direction.

Additionally, the brewery will bring its commitment to music to Asheville, which already possesses a growing music culture. “We’ll be working with local talent there for sure for eventing and that sort of thing,” said Simpson. “There is a space at the new facility that is an outdoor green space that we are hoping to do eventing on. Hopefully that will showcase some of the local music talent. We’ve already been involved with the River Arts Music Festival last year. It’s kind of an interesting thing, there are certainly opportunities for cross pollination. We have an organization in [Fort Collins] called SpokesBUZZ, a local nonprofit that helps bands become more business savvy. We did a band swap recently with Asheville, where some Fort Collins bands went to Asheville and some Asheville bands came here. It was a big success from everything I’ve heard and seen. We will be able to do more and more of that as we have our feet on the ground there.”

The New Belgium Brewery in Asheville hopes to have a complete facility by the end of 2015.

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