FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – One of Colorado’s most well-known and loved breweries is on the verge of its final pour as a locally owned business. New Belgium Brewing Company, homegrown in Fort Collins, announced Tuesday it is being sold to Little Lion World Beverage — a global craft beverage company.
“It’s a great American success story,” said Wade Troxell, Mayor of Fort Collins.
New Belgium was founded by Kim Jordan and her then-husband Jeff Lebesh in the basement of their Fort Collins home. Over the last 30 years, it turned into a national craft beer giant and staple of northern Colorado
“It’s iconic to Fort Collins,” Troxell told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “It really helps set a lot of our culture.”
So, as the Colorado, employee-owned company prepares to sell to a global empire — pending the approvals by regulators and the brewing company’s stakeholders/employees — Troxell is hopeful New Belgium won’t lose its local impact.
“I want to keep and maintain it as a great community member and have it anchored here in Fort Collins,” he said.
Other craft brewers in the city, like the Gilded Goat Brewing Company, aren’t too surprised by the looming acquisition.
“I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner,” John Hoxmeier, co-owner of Gilded Goat, said. “On one hand it’s a shame, because you kind of lose that craft element. We take a lot of pride as craft brewers as being independent.”
Instead, Hoxmeier explained, it is a sort of “sign of the times” in the beer making business.
“This is a good example of what’s happening in the industry, a lot of consolidation,” he said. “We’re a neighborhood craft brewery, and we’ll probably continue to have that focus and that specialization.”
And, no matter what the future holds for New Belgium, it likely won’t change the thirst for craft brews in Fort Collins.
“We’re still the place to go for great beer,” Troxell said.
In an all-cash transaction — exact numbers not disclosed by either company — New Belgium is expected to join the worldwide beverage company by the end of the year.