After Colorado home brewer Jeff Lebesch returned from a trip across Europe on his “fat tire” mountain bike in 1989, he began brewing an amber beer called Fat Tire in the basement of his Fort Collins, Colo., home. The Belgian-inspired brew garnered enough praise from friends and neighbors that Jeff and his wife, Kim Jordan, made their basement brewery commercial in 1991, thereby forming New Belgium Brewing Co.
In 2012, New Belgium Brewing produced more than 23 million gallons of beer, which marked a 75 percent increase just in the last six years. The company has grown into the American craft brewing industry’s third largest craft brewer and became 100 percent employee-owned in 2013. In addition to its primary brewery and warehouse in Fort Collins, the company has plans to open a new facility in Asheville, N.C., in 2015.