While the writing hasn’t been formally released, it’s clearly on the wall.
There will be an event of some sort tomorrow involving North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue down in Asheville’s River Arts District, and while I can’t confirm that it is indeed the announcement that New Belgium Brewing will be building an East Coast Brewery and Distribution Center at the site of the Western Carolina Livestock Market, it seems pretty damn likely that is, indeed, the case.
My educated guess is that there will be a number of press releases sent out in the morning, and that there will be lots of official back-slapping and beer lover celebrations throughout the day.
I have a number of thoughts about this. One, it’ll be a further economic boost for the city in terms of beer tourism. Having not one, but two, major craft breweries–Sierra Nevada and New Belgium–will draw tourists who want to come visit one of the big brewers, and while they are here, give an Asheville brew or two a try. From a purely selfish point of view, this will be good for sales of my Asheville beer history book (to be released next Fall) and offer me a chance to teach more Beer 101 classes that will feature local beer tastings. Thanks, as always, to the Asheville Brewers Alliance for supporting me in these endeavors.
Two, I think it will be interesting to trace the changes that these breweries bring to the region, especially to the small town of Mills River (where Sierra will locate their 2nd brewery) and to the still transitional but burgeoning River Arts District. My hope is that the RAD will stay funky and true to its roots as a place where artists can afford a little studio space and follow their creative dreams.
More tomorrow…time to go taste a New Belgium Shift Lager…