Things are changing over at New Belgium Brewing Company.

Every local news outlet went wild today as the hometown brewery announced its sale to Australian-based Lion Little World Beverages, a part of the Japanese company Kirin Holdings Company Limited.

What does this mean for the beer? In a letter on New Belgium's site from co-founder Kim Jordan, she says:

 Little World are brewers’ brewers.  They loved the sour beers from our renowned wood beer cellar! When we noticed that they were really interested in the breadth of our beer portfolio, and they began to share stories about their own innovation, we felt their commitment to this ancient craft.  They are as devoted as we are, and their resources in R&D and innovation can only help to grow our own capabilities.

But now, for the kicker: the over 700 people employed by New Belgium between Fort Collins, Denver, and North Carolina (where their second location sits) as well as their sales force across the U.S. How will they be affected? New Belgium has been all about its employee ownership and how that strengthens the company, but as soon as the sale is finalized, that employee ownership will end.

Kim Jordan, in her letter, commented on this as well:

We will no longer be employee owned and it would be easy to see that as a drawback.  But here’s another way to look at it. More than 300 employees are receiving over $100,000 of retirement money with some receiving significantly greater amounts.

New Belgium has also prided itself on being a force for good, which, unlike employee ownership, will continue. New Belgium will continue its B-Corp status while continuing to grow their brand.

For the beer lovers out there, your beloved Fat Tire will still be on the shelves...and isn't that, most of all, what's important? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.