When it comes to craft breweries in the United States, the story is never complete without Fat Tire. The beer has a rich and interesting history, yet many beer lovers are oblivious to its beginnings. Even now, not many know where the beer is brewed. That’s why I have written this article, and I will start with this quick answer.
Fat Tire is an amber ale that was first brewed in Fort Collins, Colorado, in 1991 by the New Belgium Brewing Company. To date, brewing is still primarily at the Colorado brewing company, with other brewing operations taking place in Asheville, North Carolina, and Denver, Colorado.
As straightforward as the quick answer is, there is still a lot untold about the brewing story of Fat Tire. Here, we will consider where the beer was first brewed, where it is brewed now, and its brewing and availability across the United States and globally. Let’s get started.
Where Was Fat Tire Founded?
The history of Fat Tire can be traced back to a bicycle tour of Belgium by Jeff Lebesch. The young man, who hails from Colorado, was undergoing an extensive tour around Belgium in 1989. He used a mountain bike, also known as “fat tire,” for his tour. Yes, of course, that’s where the name came from!
During his tour, Jeff came across a Belgian bar, Bruges Beertjes, and met the manager. The bar should ordinarily have been closed on that day, but there was a national holiday that meant the bar was opened. Jess had an in-depth conversation with the bar owner, and his curiosity about Belgian beers was significantly piqued.
After his tour of Belgium, Jeff was back in Fort Collins, Colorado. He wasn’t going to let the knowledge he had gained go to waste, so he set up a mini-brewery in his basement. He and his wife, Kim Jordan, took a while to get a winning formula, but when they eventually did, it birthed New Belgium Brewing Company. The first official beer this company would produce was then named Fat Tire – of course!
The company has since adopted a bicycle logo and also pushed the marketing of its beer by placing colorful vintage bicycles outside of its brewery in Colorado.
Where Is Fat Tire Brewed in the United States?
The original location where the beer was brewed in Fort Collins, Colorado, and the New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins still brews the beer. However, in 2016, in the wake of increasing demand and sales, the company expanded to Asheville, North Carolina. With even more demand, the need for a new brewing facility became apparent, and in 2018, Fat Tire moved to another part of Colorado – Denver.
The beer company, New Belgium Brewing, was sold to Lion, an Australian subsidiary of the Kirin beverage group in Japan. The sale was for an undisclosed amount, and many feared it would affect the operations of the brewing company. Fortunately, that has not been the case. The beer is still brewed in the United States and its home, Colorado.
Is Fat Tire Available Everywhere In The United States?
For the first decade, after the beer started, it was only distributed in 16 states in the United States. With the promise the beer was showing, both on the sales chart and on beer lovers’ favorite beer lists, it was clear it needed to be distributed more widely across the country.
In 2017, New Belgium was available in every single one of the 50 states in the United States. You can find it in bars across the country, and you can also order if you don’t want to go to bars and stores to enjoy this lovely beer.
Where Is Fat Tire Brewed Globally?
Fat Tire is an America-brewed beer through and through. It is brewed in three locations currently – Fort Collins, Colorado; Asheville, North Carolina; Denver, Colorado. There have been appeals from lovers of beer outside of the United States to allow brewing in their respective countries and regions. Whether the company heeds those calls remains to be seen, but currently, Fat Tire is not brewed outside the United States.
I should note, however, that an international beer conglomerate now owns the company. This is good news for beer fans outside the United States. Not to mention that the craft beer brewing company, before its sale, was the fourth-largest craft brewery in the United States. The new owners are definitely aware of these numbers and will be interested in their chances of replicating this success outside the country.
In What Countries Are Fat Tire Available?
Fat Tire is available in seven countries. By available, I mean distributed here, as the beer may get to other countries by other means aside from normal distribution operations by the company. Of the seven countries, the one you’re most familiar with is the United States, for obvious reasons.
The other six countries are as follows: Australia, Canada, Japan, Norway, South Korea, and Sweden. Of these countries, Japan and Australia are probably the most likely. This is because the international beer conglomerate that now owns the beer is linked to both of these states.
Given the undeniable quality of the beer, it is impossible to count the brewing company out of distribution in other parts of the world. But I won’t hold my breath on that, considering the huge expenses and logistics involved.
Nonetheless, it is possible to still enjoy the beer (or, to be precise, a very similar clone) in regions where it is either totally unavailable or scarce. This simply involves making a clone of the beer, using the specifications highlighted in online sources and beer review companies.
Did The Sale Of New Belgium Brewing Affect Brewing And Brewing Location?
Whenever a beer company sells or merges with another company, one of the first questions asked by beer lovers is the impact on the beer. And every beer fan should know that the impact of the beer can be affected by the brewery’s location. So, did the ownership change affect the quality of Fat Tire? The simple answer – no.
According to the terms of the sale, no employees or leaders will be adversely affected by the sale. In other words, the brewery’s operations still lie in the hands of those coordinating proceedings before, and there is no reason for the quality of the beer to be affected.
Still, there’s always the possibility that the new owners will make changes depending on location. For instance, the beer is distributed to six other countries asides from the United States. Fans of the beer in these regions may soon start demanding changes to the beer to incorporate their drinking preferences and patterns. If that time comes, many will look back at the sale of the New Belgium Brewing Company as the turning point.