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New Belgium raffles one of its signature bikes to man who's never clocked in at the brewery

This New Belgium cruiser was raffled off at Ernie's Bar & Pizza.
This New Belgium cruiser was raffled off at Ernie's Bar & Pizza.
Kelly Kaoudis

BY KELLY KAOUDIS

The only way to get one of New Belgium Brewing's custom-made bicycles is if you work at the Fort Collins-based brewery for at least a year. For the rest of us, the only way is to win one.

Last night, Denverites had their chance to do so at Ernie's Bar & Pizza, where each pint of New Belgium beer purchased came with a raffle ticket for the twenty-year anniversary edition of the bike. Jeremy Wecker, who won the bike, called it a great 31st birthday present.

New Belgium founder Jeff Lebesch drew the inspiration for what would become Fort Collins-based New Belgium Brewing Company from a trip to Belgium in 1989, when he toured the country by bike, while tasting the regional brews and gathering recipes. One of the first beers he made when he returned to the States was Fat Tire, which he named for the mountain bike that provided the transportation on his international journey.

More than twenty years later, Fat Tire has become ubiquitous in many parts of the United States and highly coveted where it's not available. And New Belgium uses the bike as a symbol of its sustainability efforts, supporting trade-in programs and bike tours.

Here are photos of the event:

Each pint of New Belgium purchased earned patrons a raffle ticket.
Each pint of New Belgium purchased earned patrons a raffle ticket.
Kelly Kaoudis

The raffle.
The raffle.
Kelly Kaoudis

Winner Jeremy Wecker received a belated 31st birthday present.
Winner Jeremy Wecker received a belated 31st birthday present.
Kelly Kaoudis

Wecker and his new wheels.
Wecker and his new wheels.
Kelly Kaoudis