It doesn’t matter that the CEO of New Belgium, Kim Jordan, is 1,200 miles away from the company’s headquarters in Fort Collins, Colo. Willdfires in Colorado have destroyed the homes of three employees and displaced 15 more, and New Belgium is rallying to help.
Using the company’s intranet, employees are offering homeless coworkers a place to stay and giving clothes to fire victims. The brewery is donating money, HR is allowing workers to donate directly from their paychecks and a refrigerated truck has been made available to keep food from spoiling.
It’s a testament to the company that Jordan has built – one that reflects her values – that she doesn’t need to direct the effort so much as monitor it.
New Belgium, maker of Fat Tire, is notable for all kinds of reasons.
It’s phenomenally successful - the third-largest craft brewer in the US and the largest American brewery run by a woman. Its annual gross revenue is more than $120 million, and in 2015 it will expand east with an $80-100 million brewery in North Carolina.
But it’s also a caring company – the 400-plus employees have equity in the company. And it’s a proud environmental steward.
When Jordan launched the company in 1991 with her then-husband Jeff Lebesch (who has since left the company), all she wanted to do was sell Belgian-style beer to people in Colorado. As it was, she spearheaded a revolution in the way Americans drink beer.
Today, the beer industry is going through huge changes.
Giants like Budweiser are watching sales slip as some 2,000 craft brewers gain market share by introducing new, flavorful, sometimes off-the-wall beers. Five percent of Americans over 21 have had a craft beer in the last 30 days, a number that might sound small at first, but represents explosive growth in the stodgy beer world. And the fastest-growing market of craft beer drinkers? Women.
DAME raises a glass with quite literally, the biggest woman in beer.