New Belgium Brewing has quite the 2014 ahead of them, with a lot of new beers and a lot of new changes, as you may have already started to see.
Among these changes are a new year-round beer, brand-new seasonals for three out of the four, a newly renovated website, new packaging, plus events people have come to love and expect from New Belgium.
To start things off, New Belgium recently added a brand-new year-round beer called Snapshot Wheat. It joins the list of nine other delicious 365-ers which includes: Fat Tire, Ranger IPA, Rampant IIPA, 1554 Black Lager, Trippel Belgian-Style Ale, Abbey Belgian-Style Ale, Sunshine Wheat, Blue Paddle Lager and Shift Pale Lager.
Providing a quick update on New Belgium's second location, they have revealed that the new brewery will be looking to open sometime during the late part of 2015.
This May is when they will break ground on the new site. New Belgium expects this second location to eventually produce over 500,000 barrels of beer each year.
Seasonals are such a major attraction for beer drinkers and New Belgium is just about revamping every single one of their seasonals. The only exception to that is their winter seasonal, Accumulation, which was first introduced during winter of last year.
Making its debut just recently was the new Spring Blonde Belgian Style Ale. This, as you can tell by its name, is the new spring seasonal for New Belgium.
They are planning to bring out a new summer seasonal, which will be called Summer Helles. While we don't have too much information on this beer, it's sure to be a nice summer refreshment, especially during the hottest of days.
New Belgium's Bryan Simpson talked about why they decided to switch all of their seasonals up saying, "We had been bringing some of the popular seasonal releases back for a second run but we found they suffered a bit of a sophomore slump, this tells us that that the consumer wants something seasonal and something new."
This really goes with the current trend within the Colorado craft brewing industry. Consumers want what's next and what's new. It's difficult for a beer to have a long life-span, especially a seasonal at that. A beer is better off being a year round offering, that way consumers always have the chance to pick it up.
Finally, we will see another new seasonal from New Belgium's fall line, but they say that type of beer has yet to be announced.
Moving onto the "Hop Kitchen Series," New Belgium will have launched four brand-new beers by year's end.
So far they have released RyePA, which is a collaboration between New Belgium and Riverbend Malt House, and they plan to release another collaboration, this time with Odell Brewing Company, during June, followed by Fresh Hop in September and Around the World in 80 IBUs this December.
The "Lips of Faith" series has brought out some very interesting combinations, and once again, New Belgium has plans to embellish upon this concept even more during 2014.
The brewery is scheduled to release Gruit later this month, 3 Floyds Gratzer in June and finally, a stout collaboration with Perennial Brewers this September.
New Belgium has quite the number of collaborations coming out in 2014, and we wanted to know why New Belgium suddenly chose this as emphasis. Simpson said it's a great way for the company to think outside of the box and it helps beer drinkers learn more about each brewery.
"You get fresh perspectives, wild ideas take hold, both sides are invigorated. It's awesome to collaborate with someone who's work you respect.
"You get to make something new and make new friends at the same time. From the beer drinker's perspective, they're learning about new breweries and having new experiences. Collaborations are win-win all the way around," Simpson said.
The last beer news we have from New Belgium is regarding their "Sours" collection. They have released three new sours such as: La Folie, Transatlantique Kriek, Le Terroir, and in October, a year-round sour called Eric's Ale will be released.
If you head on over to New Belgium's website, you will see that they have completely renovated it with a sleeker, more modern feel. It's extremely simple to navigate through and provides a better experience than their previous version.
Part of New Belgium's facelift for 2014 includes new packaging for their beer. In January of this year, they revealed the new packaging that it would be a portfolio-wide change for the brewery. Again, if you're a craft beer drinker and you tend to dabble in the New Belgium category, you've already noticed this change.
Simpson discussed the changes in the company's packaging and said one of the biggest reasons they decided to make the switch was they wanted their products to all be integrated as one.
"The packaging redesign came about from a desire to better integrate all our brands. Over the years we had developed several different looks – the watercolors, the bold graphic look of 'Explore' series beers like Ranger and our 22-oz format Lips of Faith format.
"The new look plays along with the old themes in a more modern and clean way so we see it as a progression of those ideas. The look is much more consistent and we're excited to have made the switch. As to the website, we the digital world moves quickly so we give that a top to bottom rework at least once a year," Simpson said.
Beginning in May of this year, the brewery will be adding several new markets. Those are Washington D.C., British Columbia and Alberta. Kentucky and Hawaii will be added in the fall. The company expanded into Alabama and Mississippi, this past January and at the start of this month, respectively.
Returning once again is the Clips Beer & Film Tour that will travel to 21 different cities from May through October. Folks who participated last year will remember that this event raised well over $150,000.
Additionally, during the same time frame will be the Tour de Fat. It will be held in 10 different cities in 2014 and will look to break the $535,000 mark it set last year.
2014 is setting up to be a very important year for New Belgium Brewing, and for beer drinkers, there's no better time to be jumping on the bandwagon, especially with so much new beer debuting throughout the year.