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Almost exactly a year ago, New Belgium Brewing Company founder Kim Jordan announced publicly that the next market the Colorado brewery would enter would be D.C. She wasn’t merely pandering to the audience, which was a packed crowd of craft beer fans at last year’s Lupuless Reunuless panel at the Brickskeller during Savor Week. It turns out that promise will be fulfilled starting in late August.
Following up on its announcement in January, New Belgium said Wednesday that the company has signed contractual agreements with 17 distributors in Maryland, Virginia and Washington. The Ft. Collins brewery will be working with D.C.’s Premium Distributors, which carries American macros Miller and Coors, as well as large craft brands including Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada. After picking up New Belgium, Premium now distributes six of the top seven U.S. breweries based on sales by volume.
You can expect to see Fat Tire Amber Ale, the 20-year-old brewing company’s flagship beer, Ranger IPA and the fall seasonal, Hoptober Ale available in 22-ounce bottles as soon as August 22. Experimental beers from New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series will also be available in a limited number of bars and restaurants on draft and eventually in 12-ounce bottles. Bring on the La Folie!
For now, Montgomery County will be left out of the flow of Fat Tire and other New Belgium favorites. According to the release, “As the county operates independently of the three-tier system, there are logistical challenges to storage, QA standards and services that need to be addressed in a creative way.”
For more on the issues breweries face when deciding to enter a new market, check out our piece from last year’s Dear “Abbey” week on Y&H.