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.
â€œA big part is we heard feedback from people who wanted to spend a little more time with their beer,â€ Simpson said. â€œNow they can sit there and go deeper with a full-sized beer.â€
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.
â€œYou have to elbow your way to the front of the bar,â€ Simpson said of the current paid system. â€œThe locals donâ€™t want that.â€
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.
â€œI think itâ€™s a positive development for everyone,â€ he said.
However, students seem less enthusiastic about the change.
â€œI think that sucks,â€ said senior mechanical engineering major Jason Slavik. â€œPeople are going to be mad.â€
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.
â€œItâ€™s a bummer,â€ Lee said. â€œI donâ€™t think people will go as often â€“â€“ itâ€™s too far away to be worth it.â€
She added that free tasters are what draw her to breweries.
â€œWhen Iâ€™m in Golden I go to the Coors brewery they always have free samples,â€ Lee said. â€œItâ€™s not like they need the money.â€
News Editor Matt Miller can be reached at email@example.com.