Who are you and your current job?
Bryan Simpson, PR Director for New Belgium Brewing.
What was the inspiration behind your brewery?
New Belgium was first conceived on a bike tour through Belgium in 1987. Our co-founders were home brewers who turned their focus to Belgian styles after that trip. We were the first brewery in the country to specifically brew Belgian inspired beers and were the earliest craft creator of wood and sour beers with La Folie and our barrel program in 1997.
Can you give us a tour of your beer scene?
Our town of Fort Collins is a leafy little University town right along the foothills of Colorado’s Front Range. For a city of 150.000, we have more than 20 micro or craft breweries. There is a vibrant cycling community as well with around 26 miles of paved bike trail circumnavigating the city and great bike lanes everywhere. This makes for a very active biking scene that dovetails perfectly with the craft beer scene.
New Belgium is one of the several breweries located juts off the Poudre River trail so in good weather all year long we will have dozens to hundreds of visitors arrive by bike every day. In our town, we have breweries specializing in Belgian ales, saisons. German and English styles. We have tiny taprooms, 100 line handle bars and everything in between. It is no exaggeration to say that beer is a profound part of the Fort Collins culture.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery?
If you’re thinking about opening a brewery, you better love beer, hard work, manual labor, cleaning, beer again and the act of brewing. People tend to think you get into brewing and just print money. It takes incredibly hard
work, diligence, patience, and a strong, coherent vision to make great beer. It is also an incredibly competitive landscape so plan on making great beer and having a solid brand voice or differentiator. All that said, it’s still the most fun industry one could possibly imagine and a great community as well.