USA: New Belgium names new CEO

New Belgium Brewing Company from Fort Collins, Colorado, the fourth-largest brewer of craft beer and the eighth-largest brewery in the United States, has hired Steve Fechheimer as new CEO after a nine-month-long search. Fechheimer has no CEO experience but brings “expertise at strategy development and execution in the high-end world of spirits” at liquor maker Beam Suntory and is „the perfect cultural and business fit” as well as “a perfect setup for the kind of dynamic future New Belgium is planning,” according to Kim Jordan, New Belgium’s cofounder and executive board chair.

Fechheimer needs to give the disoriented craft brewer a new vision after the employee-owned company looked in late 2015 to sell the company with no buyer willing to pay the asked $1 billion. In the following years many long-time employees left the brewery, including Christine Perich, a 16-year New Belgium veteran, who was elected to succeed Jordan as CEO but resigned her job after just one year without explanation, Peter Bouckaert, the company's longtime brewmaster, Jennifer Briggs, head of human resources and a fervent brand evangelist and Ruairi Twomey, vice president of marketing for just 16 month.

New Belgium Brewery was founded in 1991 by Jeff Lebesch and his wife Kim Jordan. Lebesch went on a mountain-bike tour through Belgium in 1988 and fell in love with the country's beer. After the couple separated, Lebesch left the company in 2001, and Jordan transformed the company to “more a social movement than a brewery,” according to Greg Owsley, the brewery's chief branding officer from 1996 to 2011.

In 2016, the New Belgium opened a second brewery in Asheville, North Carolina, which costed $140 million and increased production capacity by 50%. In 2016, New Belgium Brewing sold 957,968 barrels (1,124 million hl) of beer in all 50 US states and exported to Canada, Sweden, Norway, South Korea, Japan, and Australia. The company had revenues of $234 million and employed about 800 people.

In addition to the company's flagship beer Fat Tire,an amber ale, and the new Fat Tire Belgian White coming August 2017, New Belgium brews fourteen year-round beers; Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Citradelic Lime Ale, Voodoo Ranger IPA, Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale, Dayblazer Easygoing Ale, Tartastic Lemon Ginger Ale, Sunshine Wheat, 1554 Black Ale, Bohemian Pilsner, Abbey Belgian Ale, Trippeland a gluten- reduced line, Glutiny Pale Ale and Glutiny Golden Ale.

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