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New Belgium and the Battle of the Microbrews

With Big Beer capitalizing on craft beer popularity, New Belgium Brewing CEO Kim Jordan is trying to go national—while preserving the brand’s indie charm

On a crisp October morning in Fort Collins, Colo., Kim Jordan arrives at work, as she usually does, on her red Italian bike. The chief executive officer of New Belgium Brewing is clad in jeans, a tight black top, and a flowing beige tunic that looks like something Stevie Nicks might have worn in her Seventies heyday. The ensemble suits Jordan, but it’s not enough to keep her warm. “I’m not dressed for this weather,” she says, shivering. She locks up her bike and hurries into the brewery.

It’s fitting that Jordan, still slim and girlish at age 53, should dress like a rock star. She is treated like one within her industry. In two decades she has built New Belgium into the country’s third-largest craft brewer, known for its flagship, Fat Tire Amber Ale. She is also one of the few female CEOs of a major beer company.