Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Make our love and talent manifest

Th'usband and I are just back from Fort Collins, CO, where we visited family and toured the New Belgium Brewery. If you live in NBB's mostly west-of-the-Mississippi distribution area, you are probably already familiar with Fat Tire, their flagship brew, and perhaps even with a bit of their story. It's a pretty inspiring one, particularly if you like it when conventional wisdom about the values and priorities that undergird a successful business turn out to be wrong. Just fifteen years after a talented couple of homebrewers took their beer to market and the resolve to "Make our love and talent manifest" to heart, New Belgium has grown to be the nation's 3rd largest craft brewery and 9th largest brewery overall. I particularly enjoyed learning about the ingenious ways they've made the brewing process more efficient and environmentally sustainable--from laying out the pipes to foster heat exchange between cool city water headed towards the brew kettles and the hot wort coming of them, to using methane captured in their own water treatment facility to offset their consumption of wind energy--and walking around in a space where the twin powers of form and function beautifully combine. I brewed a Fat Tire clone today, and will raise a glass in a proper salute a couple of months from now.

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