Monday, April 9, 2012

New Belgium to Brew in North Carolina

A few days ago, Jay Brooks at the Brookston Beer Bulletin posted that New Belgium is going to open a brewery in Asheville, North Carolina.  According to the press release, New Belgium plans to have the 400,000 barrel brewery completed by 2015, which will generate 50 jobs in the Asheville area.  The brewery was drawn to the area for its beer culture, environmental surroundings, and the opportunity to work with a brownfields site in the downtown area.

In some ways, New Belgium's decision represents a bit of a disappointment for me.  Around a year ago, a co-worker of mine told me that Kim Jordan, CEO and co-founder of New Belgium, was in a local bike shop asking about biking trails in the area.  She also inquired about the local culture and the housing market and seemed to hint that she might be interested in moving to the area.  This is, of course, the type of information that fuels rumor mills around the world, regardless of topical area.  But, it still led to day-dreams of a New Belgium brewery in central Virginia and was a fun topic of speculation among friends over a beer.

New Belgium is not the only brewery to decide to expand to Asheville in recent months.  Back in January, Sierra Nevada announce plans to build a brewery in Asheville.  Like New Belgium, Sierra Nevada had been looking for an east-coast site for several years to help expand production and decrease shipping costs.  The incredibly fact that they both choose Asheville puts a growing beer town on the map as a major beer destination.

With a large number of breweries and beer bars already, I hope to make a trip to Asheville sometime in the not-to-distant future.  Even if it means that New Belgium did not pick my hometown.



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