In conjunction with the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC), New Belgium Brewing Company announced the selection of Asheville, North Carolina, to build its first expansion brewery outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. The nation’s third-largest craft brewer plans to invest $175 million over seven years to build a state-of-the-art brewery in Asheville’s historic River Arts District on Craven Street. The expansion will strengthen the company’s capacity to serve new markets and reduce the cost and environmental impact of cross-country distribution.
The brewery will create over 154 new jobs by 2020 and is expected to launch production in the first quarter of 2015. The average annual wage for jobs created will exceed $50,000, plus benefits, exceeding the county's average wage by 43 percent.
The site selection process was driven by factors including proximity to Eastern markets, water quality and a shared community commitment to sustainable practices. The nearly 20-acre development at the gateway to the River Arts District and downtown Asheville will revitalize a former hub of commerce and agriculture for the greater Western North Carolina region. Current uses of the site include a stockyard, auto repair and mini-storage facility. In its place, New Belgium will invest in new brewery operations, a distribution center and a hospitality tasting room on the banks of the French Broad River. The company’s investment in stream restoration, storm water improvements, environmental remediation and green building technologies will serve as a model for riverfront renaissance long envisioned by leaders of RiverLink and the Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission.
“After several years of searching we are incredibly excited to have landed in Asheville,” said Kim Jordan, CEO and co-founder of New Belgium. “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.”
In addition to the 154 new company hires, the brewery is expected to support an additional 260 indirect and induced jobs between industry vendors and suppliers, generating a total of $18.3 million annually in new labor income to families in the greater Asheville Metro Area. Furthermore, new construction is expected to support 1,252 new direct, indirect and induced jobs over the course of development, generating a total of $41.1 million in new labor income.
”From the onset, Kim (Jordan) was clear about the company’s respect for our community and commitment to a conscientious and transformational development,” added K. Ray Bailey, Board Chairman of the EDC. “At critical junctures in the past year, New Belgium has demonstrated real leadership and pursued a vision for long-term sustainability over short-term benefit. This announcement marks the beginning of a new era for both the company and our riverfront.”
Asheville Mayor, Terry Bellamy, commented, “For decades, the City of Asheville has worked to build consensus for the responsible redevelopment of our River District. These efforts are rewarded today with the arrival of New Belgium, a world-class employer that shares our vision for community development and our values of corporate social responsibility.” The investments made by the company will catalyze public infrastructure improvements in nearby roads, sidewalks, bike lanes, water service, greenway and way finding consistent with the Wilma Dykeman Riverway Plan. The infrastructure improvements will be funded in part by a grant from the North Carolina GoldenLeaf Foundation.
“This pioneering development will do more than grow our tax base and create quality manufacturing jobs. The company will transform a vital stretch of riverfront, add a brand-name destination for visitors and strengthen our well-known craft-brewing community,” said Chairman of the Buncombe County Commission, David Gantt. “We foresee a long and successful future for New Belgium in Buncombe County.”
Since its founding in 1991, New Belgium Brewing Company has released 25 award-winning Belgian-Style beers, including its best-selling Fat-Tire Amber Ale.
By 2011, the employee-owned company was producing over 700,000 barrels annually and distributing New Belgium products to 28 states and the District of Columbia. The company has grown to over 400 employees while earning a reputation with consumers and corporate America as an environmentally, socially and economically conscious employer. The brewer operates the largest private photo-voltaic solar array in Colorado and has donated over $5 million to community non-profits in areas of environmental education and stewardship since 1995.
The company plans to break ground in the first quarter 2013 and commence hiring in the fourth quarter of 2014. For additional information on New Belgium Brewing Company, please visit www.newbelgium.com.
For more detail on the project plans, community reaction, maps etc. please visit www.newbelgiumasheville.com.
Other Community and Regional Perspectives
Kit Cramer, President and CEO, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce: “Doing business in Asheville is about more than the bottom line. It’s about empowering your employees and lifting the community in which you live. New Belgium already embodies these values and will fit right in.”
Oscar Wong, Founder, Highland Brewing Company: “We’re proud to welcome industry leaders like New Belgium to our home and know they will discover, as we have, that our people, community support and pristine water make Asheville a great place to brew world-class beer. I look forward to having a beer with the New Belgium team again soon.”
Ricky Silver, Chairman, Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission and CEO, SilverLine Plastics: “This is a major milestone for our riverfront and our region. New Belgium shares our values of creativity and innovation, and our history of craftsmanship and industry. As we toured our River Arts District together last year, it was clear they want to contribute to what makes the river a special place.”
Karen Cragnolin, Executive Director, RIVERLINK: “It is a dream come true for RiverLink, our volunteers, our members and our donors to welcome an anchor project to our urban riverfront that is attracted by the clean, abundant water in the French Broad. That New Belgium chose Asheville is further proof that our economic future and our environmental stewardship are intertwined and on the same page.”
Scott Hamilton, President and CEO, AdvantageWest Economic Development Group: “AdvantageWest was pleased to introduce the company brokers to the EDC last April. The New Belgium investment will return the property to its highest potential as an engine for commerce and employment, creating entrepreneurial opportunity throughout the region in our thriving cluster of craft beer and food product manufacturing.”
The EDC for Asheville-Buncombe County is a public-private partnership committed to: creating and retaining high quality jobs, community leadership and being a resource for better business decisions. The EDC accomplishes this mission through its four core services: business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurship, research, and marketing & recruitment. The EDC is funded by Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and the AVL 5x5 Campaign.
The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is a 2,000 member organization representing 86,000 employees. Chamber members collaborate with community organizations and coalitions to support the community and each other with the mission of building community through business. The Asheville Chamber works diligently to ensure that Asheville continues to prosper while also protecting the natural beauty of the area. In 2006, the Chamber moved to a new location and is now home to the 4,000 square foot Visitor Center which welcomes 200,000 visitors per year.