Monday, March 15, 2010

No, New Belgium Was Not Purchased By In-Bev

A real conversation:

Person 1: So what're you talking about
Person 2: About craft beer availability at bars
Person 1: Really? Like how you can have 15 tap lines and all of them manage to suck?
Person 2: No, how all the small breweries are being bought out by bigger breweries like Anheuser-Busch.
Person 1: Like who?
Person 2: Stella Artois and Fat Tire
Person 1: Ummm...Fat Tire was not bought out
Person 2: Yes they were.
Person 1: I don't think New Belgium was bought by Anheuser-Busch
Person 2: Yes they were, that's why they are so readily available now
Person 1: I think that has more to do with their marketing and relationship with their distributor
Person 2: No, they were bought out. I wish I had an iPhone so I could look it up and show you
Person 1: Ok.

So, I had to look it up, just to make sure, because believe it or not, this is not an uncommonly held belief. Others have reported that there are some retailers who think the same thing. And retailers that should know better.

But, just to be sure, I sent an email to Bubba SmithSpeed [ed note: sorry Bubba :(], Area Manager for Wisconsin, over at New Belgium and this is what he had to say:
Thanks for the heads up. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say we were owned by one of the big boys, well, I’d have over a $100. When I first got to the Northwest (which was only a couple of years after NBB [ed note: New Belgium Brewery] had been up there), I would hear how we were bought by Miller. This was primarily due to the fact that we were distributed by a Miller house and “other people” had no problem in lying to try and tarnish our brand. This could very well be the same case, or at least a variation of it. I also heard about people saying we are owned by AB before we even got to their parts of the state (here in WI). Again, not true and am sure it’s because we are distributed by a company that sells our and their beer. So it’s a common thread to hear people say (and unfortunately, think) that we are owned by the larger brewery that our distributor also carries. The other one that I’ve heard over and over is that we are owned by Coors. This one is generally just fueled by the fact that we both brew in CO.

Since we aren’t in every state, some people are confused as to why we all of a sudden shown up there. Since we go with beer houses that also distribute at least one of the big boys, some people think that we have affiliated ourselves with them. Nonetheless, we are still a privately held company and 100% employee owned.

It’s a unfortunate that it takes a couple of years to break down these barriers/false claims. However, it’s people like you that help us in fighting the good fight and letting people know the truth.
Awwwww....People like me? Shucks.

*** A humorous side note that was pointed out to me after I had related this to someone else: It was actually Stella Artois (InBev) that bought Anheuser-Busch.


  1. During one of my recent "world tours", I overheard a conversation about the possiblity of New Belgium and New Glarus coming together. It was speculated that each could become a satalite brewer for each other. That would be awesome if that were to happen. Just imagine the collabrations!

  2. Where is the Grumpy Troll?

  3. I think it's Bubba Speed not Smith

  4. A boy named "Bubba" imagine that? Did he also play a little football in his time?


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