Kim Jordan Jeff Lebesch

New Belgium: In the Beginning

New Belgium Brewing Company turns out 800,000 barrels a year at its Fort Collins, Colorado, location. It’s operating at max capacity there, and is building a second plant in North Carolina that will make it a true national brand.

What makes New Belgium’s story even more amazing is how and where it began. Hillary Jones of explains:

Jordan and then-husband Jeff Lebesch launched New Belgium in 1991 after taking out a $60,000 second mortgage on their home. They brewed the beer in the 12-by-22-foot basement while Jordan raised a baby and worked four days a week as a social worker.

On the fifth day of the week, Jordan would round up customers’ beer orders, pack up the family station wagon and drive around making deliveries. At night, she finished up the day by making posters to advertise New Belgium.

Jordan said she wasn’t afraid of taking risks, and if the brewing business didn’t work out, she’d go back to her day job. She never had to.

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