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Case New Belgium Brewing (B)

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Case New Belgium Brewing (B)

New Belgium Brewing: Developing a Brand Personality

* Background

The idea for the New Belgium Brewing Company began with a bicycling trip through Belgium. Belgium is arguably the home of some of the world’s finest ales, some of which have been brewed for centuries in that country’s monasteries. As Jeff Lebesch, an American electrical engineer, cruised around that country on his fat-tired mountain bike, he wondered if he could produce such high-quality beers back home in Colorado. After acquiring the special strain of yeast used to brew Belgian-style ales, Lebesch returned home and began to experiment in his Colorado basement. When his beers earned thumbs up from friends, Lebesch decided to market them. The New Belgium Brewing Company opened for business in 1991 as a tiny basement operation in Lebesch home in Fort Collins. Lebesch wife, Kim Jordan, became the firm’s marketing director. New Belgium beers quickly developed a small but devoted customer base, first in Fort Collins and then throughout Colorado. The brewery soon outgrew the couple’s basement and moved into an old railroad depot before settling into its present custom-built facility in 1995. The company’s standard line has grown to include Sunshine Wheat, Blue Paddle Pilsner, Abbey Ale, Trippel Ale, 1554 Black Ale, and the original Fat Tire Amber Ale, still the firm’s bestseller.
Today, New Belgium Brewing is America’s third largest craft brewer, with Sam Adams number one and Sierra Nevada number two. The craft beer market is about 3% of the total market in the U.S.
When a company has grown as rapidly as New Belgium Brewing, the tendency is not to mess with a good thing. This applies to the beer portfolio, the culture, and the marketing process. For many years, the brewer, best known for Fat Tire Amber Ale, thrived on...

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