Western North Carolina Getting Another Big Craft Beer Brewery

Written and Reported by Chris Abbotts and Rachel Kent for News Channel 7 and www2.wspa.com

ASHEVILLE, N.C. –Western North Carolina is getting another major beer brewery.

Officials announced Thursday New Belgium Brewing Company’s plans to build its East Coast brewery and distribution center in Buncombe County.

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue joined New Belgium officials for the news.

“New Belgium looked all around and chose North Carolina as the location for the company’s one brewery east of the Mississippi,” Gov. Perdue said. “A big factor in sealing this deal was that company leaders knew they can find a skilled workforce, thanks to our history of investing in education and job training.

With the new facility comes 154 new jobs and a $175 million investment.

Fort Collins, CO based New Belgium is the third largest craft brewer in the country and maker of the popular “Fat Tire Amber Ale” which is distributed nationwide.

“From the deep sense of community to the rich natural environment and the opportunity to revitalize a brownfield site near a vibrant downtown, Asheville has everything we’ve been looking for in a location for our second brewery,” explained Kim Jordan, CEO and co-founder of New Belgium.

The project was made possible in part by a $1 million grant from the One North Carolina Fund.

The announcement comes less than three months after Sierra Nevada, the country’s second largest craft beer maker, said it was relocating to Mills River, NC.  Read more here.

“As part of the project in Asheville, New Belgium will be constructing a new state-of-the-art brewery and tasting facility that will be a destination for visitors of the emerging brewery cluster in Buncombe County and the surrounding western North Carolina region,” Perdue added.

And that surrounding region was also excited by the news just ask Transylvania County Manager Artie Wilson.

“Clearly Asheville is only 32 miles away, 45 minutes or so yes I am very hopeful some of our citizens will be able to obtain jobs with this new announcement today,” Wilson said.

Transylvania County manager Artie Wilson says it’s common for people to commute for good jobs especially between Henderson, Transylvania and Buncombe Counties.

“It’s been tough the past four years for us it started in 2002 when we lost 2000 manufacturing jobs here in our community so I really see this as the upswing now,” Wilson said.

It seems beer is booming business in Western North Carolina.

Three months ago Sierra Nevada announced it would be opening a brewery in Mills River, North Carolina.

Brevard Brewery is also setting up shop in downtown Brevard.

It’s proof Wilson says the economy for Western North Carolina is looking up.

“I just look forward to what the future holds for us,” Wilson said.