Case: New Belgium Brewing (A)
New Belgium Brewing’s tremendous growth to become the nation’s third-largest craft brewery
and ninth-largest overall has been guided by a steadfast strategy based on customer intimacy,
social responsibility, and whimsy. The company’s products, especially Fat Tire Amber Ale, have
always appealed to beer connoisseurs who appreciate New Belgium’s focus on sustainability as
much as the company’s world-class brews. Despite its growth and success, New Belgium has
managed to stay true to its core values and brand authenticity—the keys to its marketing
advantage in the highly competitive craft brewing industry
Which of New Belgium’s competitive advantages is the most important and the
cornerstone of the company’s strategic focus? Why?
New Belgium Brewing’s (NBB) competitive advantage of social responsibility is the
most important and the cornerstone of the company’s strategic focus. (Ferrell and
Hartline, 2014, p. 359). In other terms, corporate social responsibility is a major
competitive advantage of NBB. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) comprises business
practices that are intended to improve the well-being of society (Korschun, Bhattacharya,
and Swain, 2014). New Belgium’s social responsibilities provide the company serious
competitive advantage because consumers have the desire to believe in and have positive
feelings about the products they spend their money on (p. 359).
The company’s image of being a corporate brand that values responsibility, society, and
quality is its most important strength (Ferrell and Hartline, 2014, p. 359). New Belgium
sees itself as a caring business with that cares about all stakeholders rather than just a
beer company (p. 359). The company’s socially responsible initiatives contribute largely
to its success as consumers increasingly support what the company stands for (p. 351).
Corporate social responsibility actions help to make corporations/businesses appear
concerned about creating a healthy work environment and community in order to
increasingly attract and retain employees and customers (Stern, 2015 p. 5).
New Belgium’s social responsibilities create and provide a variety of advantages for the
company. The company’s most valuable method of advertisement is through its
customers’ word of mouth (Ferrell and Hartline, 2014, p. 352). New Belgium Brewing’s
focus on the ethical culture of the brand leaves it in good standing with its consumers (p.
354). When businesses such as New Belgium Brewing promote citizenship within
communities, they are able to establish lasting relationships with customers (p. 354). One
of New Belgium’s Company Core Values and Beliefs is “Kindling social, environmental,
and cultural change as a business role model” (p. 354). This value makes it clear that
New Belgium is dedicated to its employees, customers, quality, and the environment (p.