New Belgium Brewing Opens New Bottling and Packaging Facility

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Plant uses new cool tools to double bottling capacity.

We are making sure that every bottle of New Belgium beer gets the same care and attention during the bottling process that our brewers give it during the brewing process

This Thursday, June 21, New Belgium Brewing will cut the ribbon on a new $26 million bottling and packaging facility that doubles its bottling capacity using innovative technology and green building techniques.

The new 55,000 square foot building can fill and cap 700 bottles a minute and will be able to produce up to 850,000 barrels a year.

“Our new packaging hall will help us meet the growing demand for Fat Tire and our other Belgian-style beers,” said Jim Spencer, director of engineering at New Belgium. “The new hall has been a labor of love and it puts us firmly in the forefront of beer packaging innovation.”

The facility incorporates several cool tools that will increase bottling efficiency and production, including:

  • A state of the art electronic filler—the first of its kind in the United States—that uses an electronic sensor to gauge precisely when a bottle has been topped to perfection.
  • A robotic case palletizer, nicknamed “Tetris,” that stacks cases safely and precisely on pallets for distribution across the West.
  • Innovative loose-case packing equipment that wraps bottles snugly to prevent damage during delivery.
  • The entire line is monitored and controlled by computer, enabling New Belgium employees to provide superior quality control every step of the way.

“We are making sure that every bottle of New Belgium beer gets the same care and attention during the bottling process that our brewers give it during the brewing process,” said Spencer.

Consistent with New Belgium’s business practices, the new facility also incorporates several green building and energy conservation measures, including:

  • Skylights, solar tubes and windows are the primary light source for daytime illumination. Lighting controls optimize the use of high efficiency T-5 lights and daylighting.
  • Water used to rinse the insides of bottles is reused on the final exterior rinse and provides the water for the vacuum-pump seal.
  • The HVAC system features displacement-ventilation technology and direct/indirect cooling. The system is Freon free and its cooling towers utilize innovative technology to treat water without chemicals.
  • The sidewalk around the facility is made from a porous concrete, landscaping utilizes xeriscape principles, and site lighting eliminates lighting pollution.
  • Parking in front of the building is reserved for carpools, alternative vehicles and bicycles.

“As New Belgium grows, it is important we stay committed to what truly matters,” said Spencer. “Environmental sustainability is a core value at New Belgium and so it is very important to everyone that this new building has a green design.”

The expansion comes on the heels of an 18% increase in sales last year, when New Belgium sold approximately 437,000 barrels of beer New Belgium has experienced double-digit growth every year since its inception in 1991. Currently, New Belgium is the 3rd largest craft-brewer in the United States.

About New Belgium Brewing Company
New Belgium Brewing Company, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, began operations in a tiny Fort Collins basement in 1991. Today, the third largest craft brewer in the U.S., New Belgium produces six year-round beers; Fat Tire Amber Ale, Sunshine Wheat, Blue Paddle Pilsner, 1554 Black Ale, Abbey and Trippel, as well as a host of seasonal releases. In addition to producing world-class beers, New Belgium takes pride in being a responsible corporate role model with progressive programs such as employee ownership, open book management and a commitment to environmental stewardship. For more information, visit http://www.newbelgium.com.

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Jenny Foust
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