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New Belgium Brewing cuts 28 jobs amid US craft beer slowdown

New Belgium has confirmed that it has cut 28 jobs, accounting for around 4% of its workforce, at its sites in Fort Collins, Colorado and Asheville, North Carolina due to the “changing dynamics in craft brewing” in the US.

The employee-owned brewer said that the redundancies were not based on a lack of business, but rather an expansion project that it began in 2013 which is now proving unsustainable.

It said in a statement: “These changes were not driven by a decline in our business; in fact our depletions grew in 2017 vs 2016 which is admirable given industry headwinds.

“However, beginning in 2013, we expanded our staff to support a brewery about 40% larger than New Belgium is today, and we haven’t yet achieved our goals in the face of changing dynamics in craft brewing”.

Despite the cuts, New Belgium has confirmed that it will continue to operate both its breweries and distribute its beers across “all 50 states and many international markets”.

The cuts are believed to have affected the individuals working in the production, administration, finance, human resources and IT departments.

CEO Steve Fecheimer said that it had been “a tough day at New Belgium,” adding: “We feel deeply for the employees impacted and wish them nothing but the best in the future. Going forward, we will have more resolve than ever to grow our business and create value for this 100%-employee-owned company”.

New Belgium produced around 955,000 barrels of beer in 2017, down from the 958,000 in 2016. This is compared to the growth it achieved between 2013 and 2014, when the US craft beer marketing was in a better condition, which saw its production rise from 792,000 barrels to more than 945,000 barrels.

Co-founder Kim Jordan added: “As leaders, we balance the needs of the organisation with our care and respect for all of the people within. Always a difficult task. Steve, the Board, our management team and I have crafted what we believe to be the best outcome for New Belgium and its employee-owner coworkers.

“We have great leadership in place, iconic brands, powerful innovation hitting the market, and strong sales, marketing, and brewing teams. All of this makes me more confident than ever in the future of New Belgium”.

New Belgium is not the only brewer that is making job cuts. San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing laid off 15% of its workforce last month following staff reductions at Anheuser-Busch InBev, Craft Brew Alliance, Pabst Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Company, Summit Brewing and The Gambrinus Company.

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