Golden LEAF supports growing beer manufacturing industry
Beer manufacturing is a booming industry in North Carolina. The annual economic impact of North Carolina-produced craft beer is estimated at $791 million, which supports more than 10,000 jobs in the state, according to the NC Craft Brewers Guild. Sierra Nevada and New Belgium breweries account for approximately 480 of those jobs.
Sierra Nevada, located in Mills River, opened its doors on a staggered basis. It began by providing hard hat tours in August 2014, gift shop tours in September 2014, brewhouse tours in October 2014, and recently opened its taproom in March 2015. The company has hired approximately 360 fulltime employees to date.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is located in Mills River in Henderson County.
“We’ve had great experiences with the local workforce,” said Stan Cooper, Director of Logistics at Sierra Nevada. “There’s so much talent here that aligns with what we do from highly skilled maintenance folks, to welders, events coordinators, agricultural and natural resources experts, to experienced bartenders and servers. It seems that every time we have a need, we’re able to find spectacular candidates right here in our own backyard.”
Sierra Nevada officials have been happy with the location and community support.
“When we first came to Mills River in 2012 during our site selection process, we felt right at home,” said Cooper. “After about four years, I can say that the area has proven to be even better than we had expected. The schools, restaurants, local breweries and shops, people, and outdoor recreation have all surpassed our expectations. We feel that we couldn’t have landed in a better place.”
In neighboring Buncombe County, New Belgium Brewing Company recently opened its doors in May 2016 and is already making a valuable impact in Asheville.
New Belgium Brewing Company is located in Asheville in Buncombe County.
“New Belgium is a model corporate citizen and committed community partner,” said Ben Teague, Executive Director of the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County. “The employee-owned company invests time and financial resources as an extension of their corporate values in conscientious riverfront development and environmental stewardship, in bike, bus and greenway infrastructure, as well as economic development. We’re fortunate that they chose to make Asheville home.”
New Belgium expects to have 150 employees once it reaches its full build out.
“As of today, we have about 120 people on board at New Belgium in Asheville and about 800 coworkers nationwide,” said Susanne Hackett, Community Relations Specialist at New Belgium Brewing. “All jobs are full time with benefits and coworkers become employee owners after one year.”
Golden LEAF awarded two grants for public road infrastructure to support these projects. Henderson County received a grant of $112,600 for road improvements needed for the Sierra Nevada location and the City of Asheville received a grant of $300,000 to improve public roadways that serve New Belgium Brewing Company.