New Belgium Brewing announced last week that it will be purchased by Australian based Lion Little World Beverage Company. New Belgium is the fourth-largest craft brewery in the United States and the largest in Colorado. The sale is expected to finalize by the end of the year assuming the approval of all stockholders.
The company had been completely employee-owned until the sale. Over 300 of the employee-owners will receive over $100,000 as a retirement bonus as a result of the sale. Some will receive considerably more. It is sad to know that soon New Belgium will not be employee-owned but we can only hope that their beer will remain the same. Kim Jordan, a co-founder, wrote in her letter “They are as devoted as we are, and their resources in R&D and innovation can only help to grow our own capabilities.” New Belgium has been a staple mountain beer and I am sure it will remain that way for some time.
This sale is the third in the last month. It sparks the question of what brewery will fall next. The profitability of craft beer has created a tumultuous market for breweries. American breweries have doubled in number in the last four years. One good thing to come from this, however, is that it broadens the line between major beer companies and small-town breweries. Hopefully, we will see a resurgence of people drinking local and supporting small breweries in their place of residence. The microbrew scene has exploded over the last decade and hopefully, we will continue to see such growth in the coming years. If you enjoy good beer get out there and support what your local brewers are bringing to market!