New Belgium Picks Asheville as Site for New Brewery
The craft brewing industry says the recently-announced expansion of New Belgium Brewing into North Carolina is a sign the market for craft beer remains strong.
Fort Collins-based New Belgium plans to open its second facility in Asheville, North Carolina.
Video: Watch the announcement from CEO Kim Jordan
Julia Herz is with the Brewers’ Association, a national craft beer trade organization based in Boulder, and is the publisher of CraftBeer.com. She says Asheville's thriving craft beer movement likely prompted New Belgium’s decision to locate there.
“Asheville comes up again and again as definitely a very beer-forward city. There are polls on different websites given all the time about which city is the ‘beeriest’ – and you can have that debate all day long, and I think Denver and Boulder and Ft. Collins should also have their hat in the ring on that conversation... but (there’s) a very proactive and advanced beer culture in Asheville.”
New Belgium’s flagship brand, Fat Tire Ale, can be found in 28 states and the District of Columbia.
Herz says the new East Coast location can help New Belgium reduce the costs and environmental impact of cross-country distribution.
“I think it’s a very good industry move for our brewers who are paying attention to lowering their footprint. And many craft brewers are known for wanting to do that.”
The new facility will be built in the city’s River Arts District. It’s expected to launch production in 2015 and to employ 154 people after it’s completed in 2020. Like the Fort Collins brewery, New Belgium’s new location will be open to the public for tours and tastings.
New Belgium is the country’s third-largest craft brewer, behind Sierra Nevada and Boston Beer Company, which makes Samuel Adams.