Sierra Nevada has chosen Asheville, North Carolina -- okay, Mills River, 12 miles south of Asheville, but from 100 miles or more away...it's Asheville, and you can bet that the beer-happy folks in Asheville will see it that way, too -- as the site for their new east coast expansion brewery. Plans are for a brewery with 300,000 bbls. initial capacity. “We are thrilled to have found an ideal location in western North Carolina for our second brewery,” says Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada. “The beer culture, water quality and quality of life are excellent. We feel lucky to be a part of this community.”
|The brewery site. You can almost smell the mash.|
More from Grossman:
Much like Chico, with its close proximity to many creeks, rivers and the Sierras, the location for our new brewery in North Carolina will be situated on property that borders the French Broad River, with the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop. Of course, building a new brewery from the ground up is no small task, and we anticipate the construction to take between 18 and 24 months. Our East Coast brewery will be built with a sustainable and mindful approach and maintain the integrity of the property and beauty of the natural landscape. Construction will take approximately two years, and when completed, we anticipate the new brewery to be close to 200,000 square feet, with an on-site pub & restaurant.
How could you not like this? I've heard some concerns that Sierra Nevada will steamroller smaller craft brewers in the area, even in the wider mid-Atlantic. No, I don't think so, not any more than Sam Adams or Yuengling* have, though there was some of that at the very beginning. Sierra Nevada has clearly learned that if they want to keep growing -- and doing good! -- they're going to have to tune up their game, and they surely have: Torpedo, Ovila, Ruthless Rye, and the impressive run of one-offs they've been doing shows that.
That, in turn, is clearly good for everyone, because it serves notice that Sierra Nevada's impressive plant and talent pool and immense reservoir of goodwill are not going to simply be used to pump out more Pale Ale. No,they're going to be doing what Sierra Nevada has done from the very beginning, and what successful craft brewers have always done: challenging other brewers to bring their best, and thereby delivering the goods to us -- The Thirsty.
Cheers, this is good news.
*No, I'm not saying Yuengling is a craft brewery; don't freak out. But Yuengling did tend to suck up the taps reserved for "different" in bars in the region.