Sep 292011
Authors: Matt Miller

Beer connoisseurs seeking free samples will have to flock somewhere other than New Belgium when the brewery shifts to a paid tasting room, starting Oct. 4.

New Belgium spokesmen Bryan Simpson said this move is aimed at cutting down crowds in the tasting room and providing customers with a better experience.

“A big part is we heard feedback from people who wanted to spend a little more time with their beer,” Simpson said. “Now they can sit there and go deeper with a full-sized beer.”

Since about 1991 the brewery has offered free samples of beer, drawing large crowds to its Fort Collins home base. It will now sell full-sized 14 or 16-ounce beers for $4 to $5 and 4-ounce tasters for $1.50 to $2.00. All money for tasters will go to local charity.

Simpson said with a paid system the brewery hopes to also cut down onthe volume of people in the tasting room.

“You have to elbow your way to the front of the bar,” Simpson said of the current paid system. “The locals don’t want that.”

New Belgium was the only brewery in Fort Collins that gave visitors free samplers and Simpson said people will eventually adapt to the new model.

“I think it’s a positive development for everyone,” he said.

However, students seem less enthusiastic about the change.

“I think that sucks,” said senior mechanical engineering major Jason Slavik. “People are going to be mad.”

Slavik said he goes to the New Belgium tasting room once or twice a month, but with the new change he will go less often.

Jenny Lee, a graduate student studying bio medical sciences, also said she will be seeing less of the brewery after the change.

“It’s a bummer,” Lee said. “I don’t think people will go as often –– it’s too far away to be worth it.”
She added that free tasters are what draw her to breweries.

“When I’m in Golden I go to the Coors brewery they always have free samples,” Lee said. “It’s not like they need the money.”

News Editor Matt Miller can be reached at

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