New Belgium sure does produce a lot of beer. Thanks to a recent expansion at New Belgium’s flagship site in Fort Collins, the Colorado craft brew behemoth can handle up to 920,000 barrels of brew. For now, that’s enough to meet the company’s sales projections until 2015, which means New Belgium is delaying its plans to construct a new 400,000-barrel brewery in Asheville, North Carolina—for a little while. “We’re in a good situation as far as capacity in Fort Collins right now,” said New Belgium Spokesman, Bryan Simpson. “With deconstruction in Asheville wrapping up, our plan is to operate at maximum efficiency in Fort Collins and bring Asheville online at just the right moment.”
Last spring, New Belgium announced its plans to build a brewery on the East Coast. Originally, construction of the $175 million facility near the city’s River Arts District was scheduled to begin in 2013. Now delayed eight months, construction of the brewery should begin in 2014. Once construction starts, the process will take about 22 months. New Belgium has said that once the facility is open it will add more than 150 jobs to the area.
Last year, New Belgium ranked third in total sales among all craft breweries in the U.S., behind only Boston Beer Co., which makes Samuel Adams beers, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. By comparison, none of Colorado’s other top-selling breweries—Oskar Blues Brewery, Odell Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewery, and Left Hand Brewing Company—cracked the top 25 in craft beer sales in 2012. (Oskar Blues ranks 27th and Odell 33rd.)
Still, we can’t help but wonder whether this bit of news is a sign—even if it’s just a small one—that craft beer sales could, dare we say, slow down in the near future? Crazy talk, we know. Then again, this could just be an irregular deviation from what has become common rule: Colorado can’t produce too much craft beer. We’ll know more when it comes time to count the craft brew sales in 2013. Until then, cheers.
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