Jan 18, 2023 - Energy & Environment

New Belgium's iconic Fat Tire beer gets a carbon-neutral rebrand

Fat Tire's new brand packaging.

New packaging for Fat Tire ale. Courtesy of New Belgium Brewing.

Fat Tire Ale, the iconic craft brew that inspired a generation of independent beer fans, is getting a new recipe and a new look meant to attract climate-conscious consumers.

Driving the news: Fat Tire maker New Belgium Brewing Co. introduced a new tagline and packaging Tuesday, reading "high quality, low impact" — a reference to the beer's zero-emissions production process.

  • The prior easy-drinking amber is now a crisper golden ale meant to appeal to the tailgate crowd — but the brewer says longtime fans will notice original flavor threads.
  • The move is aimed at "the current generation of new craft drinkers," New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer tells Axios. The younger generation "is a group that really cares about the brands they purchase."

Why it matters: The rebrand is one of the most prominent examples of a company using its products to spur political advocacy, in this case on climate action.

  • The changes are "a great way to prove that companies can operate differently from a climate and impact perspective," Fechheimer says.

Between the lines: To make the production of Fat Tire carbon-neutral, the brewery revamped its supply chain and production process, but needed to buy carbon offsets to close the remaining gap.

  • Those offsets are financing decarbonization projects, regenerative agriculture and more.
  • Fat Tire has been carbon neutral for years, but New Belgium is just now making that fact the face of the beer's story.

The big picture: New Belgium's approach is not novel, but it builds on the brand's long-time environmental focus.

  • Craig Jonas at CoPeace, an ESG-focused investment fund, says the topic is a political football that "will come with a little controversy." But he argues the company's authenticity makes it "a great marketing move."
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