New Belgium's Iconic Fat Tire Gets Full Makeover After Sales Tumble

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Powell014, Jan 13, 2023.

  1. Powell014

    Powell014 (105) Oct 30, 2014 Colorado

    Saw the new can and packaging in the grocery store yesterday and thought it was a one off special edition or something, but it appears to be a complete overhaul.

    [​IMG]

    Detailed write up here: https://www.goodbeerhunting.com/sig...at-tire-gets-full-makeover-after-sales-tumble

    New label looks a combination of a retro oval logo combined with......Hitachino?

    Side note: I had heard Juice Force was doing absolutely gangbusters for them which is hilarious because that is barely beer.
     
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    From the article with emphasis in bold by me:

    “Following years of declining sales for Fat Tire, New Belgium Brewing’s once-flagship Amber Ale, the company has completely revamped the beer—apparently changing its packaging, branding, and the liquid itself. No longer an Amber Ale, Fat Tire is now lighter and more golden in color, a move that New Belgium presumably hopes will help reverse steep sales declines.”

    It is not unusual for breweries to ‘refresh’ the packaging (e.g., artwork and labeling) of their beers but this update to Fat Tire includes changing the beer as well. It will no longer be an “Amber Ale”. And from the article:

    “Lucas says he wasn’t informed by his distributor, Keg 1, what style of beer the new Fat Tire is, but he was told it’s “an all-new formula” and “easier drinking.”

    So, is Fat Tire now a Golden Ale? Is it prudent for New Belgium to change the style of what they label as “Fat Tire”? Won’t long term consumers of Fat Tire be confused by the change of the beer itself?

    Maybe there are examples of other beers where the company changed the type/style of a beer and retained the brand name and this was a financial success?

    Cheers!
     
    micada, MrOH, Roguer and 14 others like this.
  3. Powell014

    Powell014 (105) Oct 30, 2014 Colorado

    The only example I can think of is Odell changed Mountain Standard from a Black IPA to a typical American Style IPA. Mountain Standard by no means had the reach and consumer awareness of Fat Tire though.
     
  4. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA (535) Mar 28, 2009 California

    That’s a pretty boring label. So much white. Might look better on a bottle.

    ambers/reds just don’t sell. If Fat Tire wasn’t such an iconic beer for their brand it probably would have been revamped or retired earlier. The malt character is what makes the beer good IMO so lighting it up seems like it would be less flavorful.

    while a completely different beer their wild ride which is a stronger hoppier version of Fat Tire was pretty good.
     
    NickSMpls, Roguer, beergoot and 7 others like this.
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Do you have any idea why they decided to retain the brand name of "Mountain Standard" when they changed from a Black IPA to a 'regular' IPA? Why not just select a new brand name to mitigate customer confusion?

    I couldn't shake the thought as I read the article: why not just give this updated beer a new brand name?

    Cheers!
     
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Because they now want the beer to be "easier drinking"?

    And as I discussed in the above post, if you want to create a 'new' beer which is "easier drinking" why not choose to re-brand the name as well. Maybe call it Skinny Tire? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Cheers!
     
  7. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA (535) Mar 28, 2009 California

    I was listening to a podcast and the owner of revolution brewing was talking about how Juice Force and their imperial ranger ipa has blown up for them. I think the price point kills it for them. People see value in an 10% beer at a low cost. Also, talked about how the market for big DIPAs has really grown. They brewed a 10% ipa and it flew off the shelf.
     
    einhorn, GuyFawkes, arizcards and 3 others like this.
  8. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA (535) Mar 28, 2009 California

    yeah just follow suit with the ranger series. Fat Tire, skinny tire, knobby/hoppy tire….
     
    arizcards, alucard6679, Rug and 5 others like this.
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Powell014

    Powell014 (105) Oct 30, 2014 Colorado

    Was at the liquor store they other day talking to the beer buyer and he said the two best selling craft beer SKU's for them last year were 19oz Juice Force cans and 19oz Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing cans. And the third SKU wasn't even close to those two.
     
    einhorn, DBosco, GuyFawkes and 4 others like this.
  11. MaltyFlannel

    MaltyFlannel (0) Oct 30, 2020 Iowa

    Fat Tire and Boston Lager used to be legitimate, substantial flagship beers worth drinking. Sad to see both get sanitized and diminished. They're the two beers that got me into craft beer, and are a shell today of what they were then
     
  12. Powell014

    Powell014 (105) Oct 30, 2014 Colorado

    The marketing people really liked the name Mountain Standard and thought it should be attached to a more retail friendly style of beer.
     
  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Because it was time? :wink:

    Cheers!
     
  14. Powell014

    Powell014 (105) Oct 30, 2014 Colorado

    When New Belgium really blew up and expanded (2014-15 I want to say?), they changed how they made Fat Tire by flash boiling it in order to make it faster and produce more of it. I don't think it's ever tasted the same since then.
     
    MrOH, DBosco, arizcards and 3 others like this.
  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I am unfamiliar with the terminology of "flash boiling". Can you please explain what this means and how it impacts the qualities of a beer?

    Cheers!
     
  16. slander

    slander (0) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Moderator Society

    And it's a Belgian Amber, which you just don't see, like, ever.
    (I guess most akin to Palm).
     
  17. Bouleboubier

    Bouleboubier (655) Dec 22, 2006 New Jersey
    Society

    Wild Ride sounds interesting, iso... I clicked on this thread thinking they'd revamped the recipe to something I'd enjoy drinking... I've only had Fat Tire maybe 3 times. First around 2011, then twice last year; the second of those sips at the brewery. Never clicked with me... Alaskan Amber, which I had only for the first time a year ago, was almost similar, but I enjoyed that more... Maybe a reinvention was warranted?
     
    ChicagoJ and arizcards like this.
  18. Giantspace

    Giantspace (625) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Many years ago Fat Tire was a real nice bready beer. I have tried to like it again over the years but it always feels thin and tastes like sugar water.

    Hope they keep the black lager, I do buy that when I see it.


    Enjoy
     
    MrOH, ChicagoJ, arizcards and 4 others like this.
  19. Bouleboubier

    Bouleboubier (655) Dec 22, 2006 New Jersey
    Society

    Hmm, yes, Palm does make sense as far as 'style' comparison, but the flavors (in my recollection) are only marginally similar... Now I want to sample them together, ugh. But I can't remember the last time I saw Palm on any shelf or in any fridge...
     
    ChicagoJ likes this.
  20. Bouleboubier

    Bouleboubier (655) Dec 22, 2006 New Jersey
    Society

    Looking at images of Fat Tire labels, man, did it need a rebranding bad. Especially for such and historied brand... Baffled as to why a beer with this history never had a unique enough font to match its iconic (bike) image.
     
    ChicagoJ likes this.
  21. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA (535) Mar 28, 2009 California

    I am not aware that it’s Belgian. They use standard ale yeast. Doesn’t palm have yeast eaters like banana?
     
    #21 GetMeAnIPA, Jan 13, 2023
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2023
    ChicagoJ, arizcards and BBThunderbolt like this.
  22. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA (535) Mar 28, 2009 California

    I think wild ride was a 30 year anniversary of fat tire. Not sure if it’s still out. Could be wrong though.
     
    ChicagoJ, arizcards and Bouleboubier like this.
  23. ESHBG

    ESHBG (420) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Juice Force is popular in my area also. For the price point it is good for what it is but it's not a super exciting beer. HLT seems to have trailed off and some stores have stopped carrying the 19.2 oz format.

    And in related news I noticed that Devil's Backbone is mimicking NB's branding a bit with The Buck Tradition IPA Series.
     
    ChicagoJ and arizcards like this.
  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    It has been a while since I drank a Palm beer but I do recall that there was not a lot of Belgiany flavors (e.g., esters) to that beer.

    Does it have more yeast produced flavors vs. Fat Tire? I would recommend a side-by-side tasting to determine this. My guess is that a bit more yeast produced flavors would exist in Palm but not all that much of a difference. In both beers the malty flavors would dominate.

    Cheers!
     
    ChicagoJ and arizcards like this.
  25. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA (535) Mar 28, 2009 California

    yeah it’s been a while since I had palm. For Fat Tire to don’t recall yeast esters. I get mostly bready and caramel notes. I am not too interested in trying either really, lol
     
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Yeah, not much yeast produced flavors. The yeast strain used to ferment Fat Tire is fairly neutral.
    I 'hear' you. I too will not be conducting a side-by-side tasting of Fat Tire and Palm. Maybe @Bouleboubier will 'take one for the team' here?

    Cheers!
     
    ChicagoJ, arizcards and GetMeAnIPA like this.
  27. zid

    zid (660) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Take this with a grain of salt since I'm just a blockhead on a computer.

    With terrible performance of Fat Tire, they probably saw little hope for yet another Fat Tire spin off. They might have also seen little value in experimenting with a unique brand. They probably also determined that Fat Tire was on its way out... but maybe they could still leverage what brand recognition it maintained despite poor sales. Perhaps they decided to take a gamble since they saw little to lose. A Hail Mary pass. And if it doesn't work, there's always the potential "New Coke" road and a marketing opportunity for the return of the "classic" to boost the brand value of the old beer. The risk that I see in all this is that if it backfires, there's the potential of lessening the brand value and image over the entire portfolio. Perhaps the Voodoo is sooo strong that this isn't even much of a concern on their end.

    I want to add that I remember the days when I used to go on a certain New York beer store's website and their home page had a blurb stating something akin to: "Don't call us asking if we carry Fat Tire... it isn't available in NY State." Imagine the demand for a product being so high that a store needs to permanently advertise that it doesn't carry it. And now nobody will ever carry that beer again (at least in terms of recipe).

    Fat Tire was inspired by Belgian ambers. Palm is a "Speciale style" amber that was designed to be more lager-like. Last I checked (years ago... at the time of the quote below), Palm was made with English hops and "Belgian yeast" and hit 18 IBUs compared to Fat Tire's American/English hops, "house ale yeast" and 22 IBUs. Here's an old comparison from me (but just take this as one impression from a particular day that could be different on another day... and I'm not the type to think in black and white terms that these are necessarily the same style or two different styles):
    [​IMG]
     
  28. Bouleboubier

    Bouleboubier (655) Dec 22, 2006 New Jersey
    Society

    @JackHorzempa Don't have to ask me twice. This is a kind of trivial nonsense I live for.
     
    ChicagoJ, JSullivan and JackHorzempa like this.
  29. Bouleboubier

    Bouleboubier (655) Dec 22, 2006 New Jersey
    Society

    @zid @JackHorzempa Nevermind, I'm good. That's probably close enough to what my take might be.
     
  30. thuey

    thuey (420) Nov 13, 2015 California
    Society

    They should have made La Folie their flagship then. Old Fat Tire is fine - I'd take it if I ever came across it. But zero interest in a Golden version... but La Folie is my favorite of their entire range.
     
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (735) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Chris wrote:

    “The appearances are strikingly similar. Tasting these, I could see how someone would find them to be very similar if they didn't have them together. Having them together highlights the big differences. Palm, while feeling like it's yeast signature is less characterful than in other Belgian beers, still feels like its character is more yeast driven than Fat Tire's.”

    I posted above:

    “Does it have more yeast produced flavors vs. Fat Tire? I would recommend a side-by-side tasting to determine this. My guess is that a bit more yeast produced flavors would exist in Palm…”

    Just goes to show, it pays to guess!?! :wink:

    Cheers!
     
    MrOH, ChicagoJ and arizcards like this.
  32. zid

    zid (660) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    You show more faith in my descriptions than I'd give them. :slight_smile:
     
  33. QuakeAttack

    QuakeAttack (450) Mar 19, 2012 California

    Yep. I started drinking Fat Tire in the early 90s. SN Pale Ale, Fat Tire, and Redhook ESB were more go to beers in the 90s. I'm part of the problem as I don't drink the style much anymore.
     
    MrOH, ChicagoJ, deanzaZZR and 3 others like this.
  34. readyski

    readyski (305) Jun 4, 2005 California
    Society Trader

    Except for Le Terrior, they are dead to me anyhow.
     
    micada and ChicagoJ like this.
  35. Domingo

    Domingo (730) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Society

    THIS SUCKS.
     
    Kevin_5280, ChicagoJ and meanmutt like this.
  36. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship (605) May 3, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    They need to generate some hype on it again and put it back to being a west of the Mississippi only distro… or put it back in bombers at a low price.
     
    ChicagoJ likes this.
  37. Powell014

    Powell014 (105) Oct 30, 2014 Colorado

    Take it with a grain of salt as this is second hand info and not exact numbers yada yada yada:
    Say they used to boil the wort of Fat Tire for 60 minutes at 100 Celcius to make a batch. To make it faster, they started boiling it at a higher to temperature to isomerize the hops faster and are now only boiling the wort for 45 minutes. The devils in the details and since they started doing that it never tasted the same to me.
     
    MrOH and ChicagoJ like this.
  38. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 (1,305) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    Until seeing this thread I was unaware of any details for a new recipe and revitalization of the brand. However, Kalamazoo Craft Beverage Week is starting today, and I had noticed in the list of activities an event that was titled "Fat Tire Re-release" to be held at one of the local bars. The details are very general: "New Belgium Brewing has re-invented the wheel! Or at least the Tire! Come on out to Shakespeare's Pub on Saturday, January 14th at 6 ... pm for the Re-release of the New Fat Tire recipe! New Belgium will be there with giveaways too!"

    I wasn't planning on going to this party but now I might go just to see if they offer a comparison tasting. It's been years since last had a Fat Tire.

    (After the party it will be interesting to see if the New Belgium folks will walk two blocks east to Bell's and meet their cousins.)
     
    #38 PapaGoose03, Jan 13, 2023
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2023
  39. not2quick

    not2quick (715) Dec 1, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    This is horrible news. Sales have not tanked because people no longer like Fat Tire. Sales are low because there is way more competition in craft beer than there was 20 years ago.

    Fat Tire was my "light bulb" moment when it came to realizing not all beer tastes the same. I'm very sad they changed the recipe.
     
    micada, MrOH, bluejacket74 and 5 others like this.
  40. not2quick

    not2quick (715) Dec 1, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    I thought it was in my head that Fat Tire didn't taste the same as it used to. Now I'm convinced that it didn't.
     
    ChicagoJ likes this.