The founder of one of the world's most beloved craft breweries shares the biggest lesson she's learned in 25 years of beer

Kim Jordan New BelgiumCourtesy New Belgium Brewing CompanyKim Jordan, cofounder and executive chair of New Belgium.

Kim Jordan
(No. 12 on the BI 100: The Creators
) has spent the last 25 years building New Belgium into one of the largest and most beloved craft breweries in the US.

Along the way, the former CEO and current executive chair has learned some tough lessons about building a sustainable business. Chief among them is the willingness to evolve.

“One of the things that vibrant organisations have to do is change,” Jordan told Business Insider in a recent interview. “You have to continuously look at ‘Where are we now?’ and ‘Where is the future going?’ — what’s the gap between those two things, what is the competitive landscape like, and how do we react to that.”

And you can’t be easily distracted or discouraged by change, she warned. It could end up hindering you if you turn every time there’s a shiny new object.

“The pace of change in the world — more specifically in craft brewing — has been at a pretty steady clip,” Jordan said. “You have to figure out where the right places to make change [are] and what are the big bets to put your energy behind. And that’s an art form.”

For now, Jordan, who stepped down as CEO last October, is putting her energy into building New Belgium’s brand and portfolio, as well as planning at the intersection of midrange and long-term strategy.

“You have to keep encouraging the organisation to evolve and be relevant,” she said. “[And] to not be unnerved by evolving.”

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