FORT COLLINS, Colorado — New Belgium made the difficult decision to let go 28 employees between our Fort Collins, CO, and Asheville, NC operations which represents less than 4% of our workforce. These changes were not driven by a decline in our business; in fact, our depletions grew in 2017 vs. 2016 which is admirable given industry headwinds. However, beginning in 2013, we expanded our staff to support a brewery about 40% larger than New Belgium is today, and we haven’t yet achieved our goals in the face of changing dynamics in craft brewing.
Despite these employee reductions, we will grow our business to create value for our employee-owners. New Belgium remains firmly committed to being a national brewery and will continue full operations at our two breweries and distribution to all 50 states and many international markets. It should also be noted that today’s actions have not reduced our sales force nor our marketing spend. We will continue to invest in building our business – a 100% employee-owned B-Corp focused on making world-class beers – as we believe this is highly relevant to today’s beer consumers. If we want to further our vision of what craft brewing can be, and still remain an innovative brewer, we have to ensure we have the right cost structure in place.
“Today has been a tough day at New Belgium,” said CEO Steve Fechheimer. “We feel deeply for the employees impacted and wish them nothing but the best in the future. Going forward, we will have more resolve than ever to grow our business and create value for this 100%-employee-owned company.”
Co-founder Kim Jordan added, “As leaders, we balance the needs of the organization with our care and respect for all of the people within. Always a difficult task. Steve, the Board, our management team and I have crafted what we believe to be the best outcome for New Belgium and its employee-owner coworkers. We have great leadership in place, iconic brands, powerful innovation hitting the market, and strong sales, marketing, and brewing teams. All of this makes me more confident than ever in the future of New Belgium.”