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Oct 6, 2008 12:58 PM

Fat Tire heading east?

I attended the World Beer Festival in Durham over the weekend and tried Fat Tire for the first time (good stuff). While I was there, I heard some folks say that New Belgium is finally going to start selling Fat Tire and its other brands here on the East Coast. The couple working the New Belgium booth didn't know anything about this, so is this a rumor or will Fat Tire be available coast to coast?

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  1. New Belgium is very serious about controlled growth. They are proud of being so popular while maintaining their recipe and care in the 19 states. I would be surprised if they get all the way to NC. I know on the tour they are talking about challenges of eastern iowa and chicago. that is not much of a reach.

    1 Reply
    1. Picked up a case of 22-ounce bottles at the Piggly Wiggly in Hilton Head SC... can't get this yet in most eastern states though (only NC, SC, GA):

      1. God, I hope not. The last thing we need in the Boston area is another microbrew made outside the region squeezing out locals, becoming a flash in the pan one month and sitting around gathering dust the next.

        24 Replies
        1. re: LStaff

          I concur with your sentiment, although I think FT will be the exception that doesn't gather dust.

          1. re: Jim Dorsch

            Not for some time anyway, will be very hot for the first year or so, but eventually will die a slow death like all the other amber ales on shelves in the Boston area. It will definitely squeeze out local brands though.

            1. re: LStaff

              I'm disturbed by all of this. I just got back from Georgia where 2-3 years ago you could NOT get a beer over 5-6% and the local brews aren't worth much. Now they get New Belgium AND Bells. While here in NY we get neither. That's just wrong. Plain wrong. I thought Obama was supposed to make everything better....

              1. re: MOREKASHA

                It just stumps me that someone who can get Captain Lawrence, Southern Tier, Southampton and Brooklyn, to name a few, would be upset at not having Fat Tire. My last trip to NY, I probably tried six local craft beers a day and all but a couple were better than Fat Tire, those being from the mediocre brewpub in the Empire State Building.

                1. re: juantanamera

                  Lots of good beer everywhere these days, but we always want what we can't get!

                  1. re: juantanamera

                    J, Brooklyn and Southampton are both fine beers. However, S Hampton in the bottle is not the same as the draft and the Brooklyn's I love are both bottles, the original Bklyn and Local 1. The beer I'm really jealous of is the Bells portfolio. Bells is by far better than CL + Southern Tier, IMHO. Also, when Bells is in a market you have a great variety of botle conditioned six packs. Just a matter of taste.

                    1. re: MOREKASHA

                      I tried FT last summer out in big deal.
                      Lot's of better micro's out there.

                      1. re: MOREKASHA

                        The Southampton Saison Deluxe in a bottle was outstanding IMO.
                        I also wish I could buy Bells regularly, everything I've had from them was great.
                        With so many great breweries, I just can't fathom that anyone misses Fat Tire. New Belgium La Folie, that's something to get excited about. But Fat Tire?

                        1. re: juantanamera

                          I just tried to get my purveyor in MA to order me a case of La Folie, but no it's still a no-go here.

                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                            New Belgian's website has a pretty up-to-date map (be sure to click on "Map" not the "Satellite" view) of it's distribution area. Not even close to the Northeast .


                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                              I don't know of anywhere that you can pick up a case of La Folie - it's hard to come by on the west Coast, too. I do occasionally get to enjoy it on tap, though :)

                              1. re: juantanamera

                                Seems like I should've smuggled some back when we visited the brewery a couple months ago. Bummer.

                                1. re: juantanamera

                                  The BevMos currently have La Folie in San Diego (at least Mission Valley and La Mesa did).

                                  1. re: DougOLis

                                    Thanks for the tip. I'll stock up if they still have it.

                        2. re: MOREKASHA

                          Hmmm, Bells. I really don't care a whit if FT shows up here in Boston, but I wouldn't mind seeing Bells.

                          1. re: jgg13

                            Yeah, I think Bells is by far the better brewery but FT has the buzz. I guess Michigan isn't as sexy as Co.

                            1. re: MOREKASHA

                              Fat Tire certainly benefits from the dreaded "Vacation Beer Syndrome" in that it's distribution area (including Calif., Los Vegas, Colorado) is a more popular destination that the Rust Belt. Note that the "Business Trip Beer Syndrome" is not as prevalent, altho' I did bring home a case of Two Hearted as my carry-on bag (pre-9-11) on my last business trip to Dee-troit (that's how they pronounce it in the auto industry. Don't ask me why.)

                              1. re: JessKidden

                                We get Bells nearby in PA, and having lived in MI & CO I'd take Founders or Great Lakes offerings here in MD ahead of Bells or FT, But I would add New Glarus offerings along with La Folie to my wish list. FT Amber is strikingly similar to Yuengling in taste and in fact when I go back to Moline, ILL they'd swap all of the Fat Tire they have for cases of Yuengling that they can't get there.

                                1. re: JessKidden

                                  LOL, pre 9/11 I did the same as well. Once, I even stayed in Kalamazoo instead of Grand Rapids (on a biz trip) just to go to Bells and get it mega fresh.

                                2. re: MOREKASHA

                                  To be fair, NB is much more than just FT, but FT gets all the attention (and i expect most of the sales!). But there's La Folie, for example, and others, lurking in the background.

                                  Having said that, I am more personally attuned to the Bell's portfolio. I recall a party in Denver long ago with a keg of Expedition Stout ...

                                3. re: jgg13

                                  hit the nail right on the head with this responnse, jgg13. bells to boston! forget fat tire

                              2. re: LStaff

                                It's a jungle out there to be sure.
                                I do try to buy fairly local beer, but clearly, local isn't always better.
                                Just like micro isn't always better.
                                However, with Flying Fish and Brooklyn both being 'local' to where I am (as now is Sam Adams since their acquisition of the old Schaefer plant outside of Allentown PA) I feel fortunate.
                                In any case...hopefully the quality products ultimately survive the rapidly expanding jungle (it's just a sad fact of business though that sometimes they don't). If it's the hometown brewery that wins the day, all the better, and I say "yay"
                                ...but if they can't cut it, there will always be plenty of contenders clogging the shelves these days competing for people's hard earned money, especially for the premium priced (and many people feel overpriced) micro product.

                                Interesting how in such a relatively short time we have gone from a dearth of choice to an almost overwhelming range---a glut--- of choice.

                                1. re: The Professor

                                  The Probition era is finally over for the brewing industry. We can give thanks for that. Living in SC I thought that I would not live to see free pour liquor by the drink and high gravity beer, Not only do we live in interesting times but in happier and freer times.

                          2. Tonight, I have had my first Fat Tire Draft at Buffalo Wild Wings in Summerville SC. It seems to have somewhat the same flavor profile as Sweetwater 420 but the Sweetwater is hoppier.and less sweet.