Asheville retains title, dominates third Beer City USA poll ***Updated 1:32 p.m.***

Asheville retains title, dominates third Beer City USA poll ***Updated 1:32 p.m.***-attachment0

The first year was a tie, the second year a duel. At the end of voting last night, however, there was no doubt: Asheville retained its title in the annual Beer City USA poll by a wide margin, starting with a commanding lead and never relinquishing it. Barley’s Taproom will host a victory toast at 6 p.m. this evening.

When polling closed in the weeklong contest at 2 a.m. this morning, Asheville had 46.68 percent of the vote, defeating its closest rival, San Diego, Calif. with 15.83 percent. Portland, Ore., which tied Asheville the first year and was only narrowly defeated last time (with much grousing), slid to a distant third.

The annual online poll, conducted by microbrew guru Charlie Papazian, is intended to measure support for local beer in various cities around the country. Papazian hasn’t yet revealed how many votes were cast in this year’s poll, but last year saw over 19,000.

SHARE

49 thoughts on “Asheville retains title, dominates third Beer City USA poll ***Updated 1:32 p.m.***

  1. Jake

    Three-peat! Proud that Asheville still wears the Beer City crown. Cheers to the craftbrew community of greater Buncombe!

  2. Asheville Dweller

    Still no real jobs coming into the area, still horrible local Economy but hey we won an unofficial web poll. So much to be proud of.

  3. dpewen

    It’s a official poll and our beer is helping the economy more than you know … great venues for music and food!

  4. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Yes, rejoice!

    Bend your elbow!

    The big guys will be falling all over themselves to bring (non-service) jobs to us!

  5. Betty Cloer Wallace

    But alas, service jobs it is!

    Please, and thank you, and sir, and ma’am.

    All together now, practice the mantra…….. and they’all come.

  6. sharpleycladd

    Actually, breweries pay better-than-decent wages, lots and lots of property taxes vs. call centers and retail operations (stainless steel is VERY expensive), and are building lots of ancillary traffic for electrical, plumbing, refrigeration, carpentry and, yes, hospitality trades. Or would you rather offload the city’s alcohol from a semi truck and have all the wonderful payroll, taxes and overhead land somewhere else? It is, at bottom, about which town gets the money and which town ships the money somewhere else.

  7. dpewen

    The breweries are also bringing in tourists due to concerts they are hosting, brews cruises that have started, movies, and lots of entertainment.
    I am very happy to be living in beer city USA!
    Everyone complains about jobs coming … wake up! This is our new industry!

  8. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Everyone complains about jobs coming … wake up! This is our new industry!..

    Only those droves of unemployed and under-employed people who have learned that making a living in this new service industry based on tourism, beer, food, and entertainment is not sustainable.

  9. dpewen

    Good, then you see that being Beer City is a great thing … lots of good jobs, more tourists, big help to the economy … I love it! and more concerts and beer to drink!

  10. Betty Cloer Wallace

    The economy ultimately depends on the ratio of producers to consumers, and Asheville’s long-term economic health will depend on that ratio.

    Right now, consumers far exceed producers.

  11. dpewen

    I am not concerned about long term growth here since I have my own plan … in the mean time I will enjoy this period of beer and music boom!

  12. Bjorn

    Seems to me those complaining have no head, no body, & are lost in the foam of their own empty glass. Get yr dish rag out & wipe your mug off, you just might have a different perspective – not to worry we’ll over look the lint.

    The real question is how the publicity & title of Beer City USA can be leveraged to benefit the larger picture, of the place we call home?

  13. sharpleycladd

    Brewing is benefiting our home. Asheville beers sell in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and other places. Essentially, people from other cities are writing paychecks to people who work in Asheville. I don’t quite get Betty’s problem with understanding this: Asheville isn’t going to have an automobile industry, but beer sales in America are roughly equal to the entire economy of Central Europe, and I think it’s great that Asheville participates on the producing end. It’s a good-paying business that uses a host of ancillary services, pays property taxes, and gives to local charities.

  14. Betty Cloer Wallace

    The real question is how the publicity & title of Beer City USA can be leveraged to benefit the larger picture, of the place we call home?

    Yes, exactly, and ideas are most welcome!

    Seems to me those complaining have no head, no body, & are lost in the foam of their own empty glass.

    Creative metaphor, but the legions of “complainers” are those unemployed and under-employed people who really want to live in AVL but can hardly afford the artisan beers and who have learned that making a living in a service industry economy based primarily on tourism, beer, food, and entertainment is not sustainable, i.e. the cost of living is high and wages are low.

    What’s not to love about owning a brewery in AVL! That would be great! But being a server in one, not so much, at least not after, perhaps, one’s college years. (I’ve been-there-done-that, and it really ain’t all “Cheers.”)

    Yes, being “beer city” is great for consumers, and “keep Asheville weird” is fun, but we need to work and plan toward a wider range of economic enticements for producers who can provide jobs that will allow us who want to go on living in AVL to afford to live here and to provide for our children and grandchildren.

    Otherwise, we will continue on our current trajectory toward becoming a town of disparate haves and have-nots, and disillusioned transients.

  15. Ashevegasjoe

    I’ve been in Asheville for 19 yrs., and I’ve never been unemployed. All of my friends are employed, many making at or near six figure salaries. So, I don’t know what you guys are saying about the local economy. Asheville has a better local economy than just about anywhere else in the state. No, we’re not filled with large office buildings, i.t. jobs, or mega-coprporations. But that is why you guys want to live in this beautiful city. You should consider other forms of employment, or go to Ralieghwood. There is no shortage of jobs in Asheville, there is a shortage of people who will show up, on time, and actually work.
    But this thread is about winning the title “Beer City” again, and that is a good reason to drink (not that I lack reasons to drink). Fun town, good beer, and if you don’t like it move.

  16. bill smith

    @sharplyclad-Are you actually trying to claim that beer-brewing by a small handful of establishments is having a noticeable effect on the Asheville economy? I mean, sure, good beer is good. But to compare it to a real industry like auto manufacturing, really?

    @Ashejoe-[b]All of my friends are employed, many making at or near six figure salaries.[/b]

    They make six figure incomes working IN ASHEVILLE? Do they sell drugs?

    [b]There is no shortage of jobs in Asheville[/b]

    True, but the complain being levied isnt there arent ‘any’ jobs, but that the vast majority of them dont pay much at all. But, yeah, lots of service-work. Wash them dishes!

  17. sharpleycladd

    In terms of scale, I’m certain I overstated. It’s the beer talking. But there are similarities. Brewing is a fairly labor-intensive business. Wages are fairly high, certainly when compared to the restaurant sector. Outbound truckloads of beer to Atlanta, Charleston, Knoxville and other places bring checks for tens of thousands of dollars back into our economy. Breweries require constant repairs, employing loads of ancillary people (refrigeration, welding, electrical, plumbing, steamfitting). Breweries take over a year to locate and build, and are pretty much bound to their free- or leasehold by licensing stuff, so they’re not going anywhere. Breweries are expensive, so there’s a big property tax check to the county every year. And so forth.

    There’s also the happy knock-on effect of beer tourism. People actually drive here to tour breweries and drink beer. They stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants, and drink our beer. We’re talking millions of dollars a year in economic impact from beer tourism – ask around.

    I think the main thing that bothers me is y’all equating brewing with the restaurant business. Brewing is not food service. Brewing is manufacturing. You can cry a river about textile plants moving away, or pay attention to an industry that’s here now, paying decent wages with bennies, and growing at about 30% a year.

    What’s more, breweries are contributing to the community without subsidies from the City or Chamber of Commerce.

  18. tatuaje

    @ Bill Smith & @ Betty Cloer Wallace

    The breweries aren’t just having a noticeable effect on the economy, they’re having a HUGE effect.

    The breweries alone bring in, millions of dollars a year. That doesn’t include ancillary profits that come from tours, restaurants, hotels, taxis…the list goes on and on.

    An economic impact report done by Beer Serves America puts the direct economic impact of the beer industry on NC’s 11th congressional district at $124,580,00.

    A total of 3700 jobs.

    http://www.beerservesamerica.org/default.aspx?sub=sub&state=NC

    Does that compare to auto manufacturing or the medical industrial complex? Of course not. But it’s nothing to sneeze at either.

    So although the Beer City USA poll might be arbitrary, don’t underestimate the potential impact it can have on this small community’s bottom line. The more beers sold literally translates into more sidewalks, bike lanes, parks, etc. for the people of Asheville.

  19. dpewen

    Just last night at Green Man I ran into 3 couples who came to Asheville because the Beer City moniker … they were on a brews cruise and staying in a hotel … just a small example of the impact. Perhaps the nay sayers do not drink beer … and even if you do drink that does not make you a drunk like so many posters refer to beer drinkers as …

  20. Betty Cloer Wallace

    The “naysaying” above is NOT about local breweries, nor how beer is made, nor how few or how many people are employed (including who does or does not financially benefit directly or indirectly), nor the relationship between craft beer and the local food industry, nor anyone’s individual drinking preferences.

    The primary concern is the unfounded expectation that TOURISM is the singular future of Asheville and that those establishments benefiting from tourism are paying for the infrastructure to support the hoards of tourists with all the attendant infrastructure problems that increase with every tourist attraction.

    The entrepreneurial spirit of AVL is clearly exemplified by the growing popularity of breweries and other creative endeavors in the region, and that is a good thing, but the range is too narrowly focused on tourism as the driving force.

    Ask anyone outside Asheville what is our reputation, and you’ll get the same tourism responses: Bele Chere, beer, food, festivals, weirdness, and Biltmore Estate.

    Again, my caveat is that we should not put all our eggs in the TOURISM basket because it is unsustainable and will destroy all that we love about Asheville. (Remember how Gatlinburg used to be before it was overrun by tourists?)

    Yes, being “beer city” is great for consumers, and “keep Asheville weird” is fun for tourists, but we need to think more carefully about managing our reputation long-term.

    We need to work and plan toward a wider range of economic enticements for industries that will provide significant jobs, for employers who can provide jobs that will allow us who want to go on living in AVL to afford to live here and to provide for our children and grandchildren in such a manner that they will not be reduced to service-type, low-paying jobs or be forced to seek lives elsewhere (as did so many native Gatlinburgers).

    Otherwise, we will continue on our current trajectory toward becoming a town of disparate haves and have-nots, rowdy tourists, traffic gridlock, and disillusioned transients; and unless you own a restaurant, hotel, brewery, or other tourist attraction, tourism is costing you, not helping you.

  21. dpewen

    Good post … I am happy with the way Asheville currently is since I am retired and do not have to worry about money. I know many of the have nots and most would be have nots anywhere they lived! I used to head up the Drinking Liberally group and met lots that complain about the have/have not thingy so I get that … many expect the government to take care of them … good luck with that!

  22. tatuaje

    @ Betty Cloer Wallace

    I agree that tourism alone cannot sustain an economy.

    But I think that you are mistaken if you consider the local beer industry as based solely in tourism. The tourism that it brings is simply a beneficial side product of the industry itself.

    The local breweries are producing a consumable product that is currently in high demand not only in Asheville, but in our region and entire country.

    The Highland Brewery, for instance, sells their beer in 6 states in the South East and continues to increase supply just to keep up with demand. The Asheville Brewing Co. is expanding and will certainly be distributing their beer throughout the region soon as well.

    Not to mention the 8 other great breweries that will continue to grow and expand as well to keep up with demand.

    This is an industry that produces a tangible, widely regarded and sought after product.

    That employs many people who do jobs they love.

    I know people all the way from the person that fills your pint to the owners themselves, and everyone in between who participates in this industry, and they ALL love their jobs!

    Do all of those jobs pay 6 figures? Of course not.

    But not everybody feels the need to be wealthy. However, these jobs DO pay the bills and allow people to do what they love.

    How about that! A happy, growing workforce that produces a tangible, in-demand product! Right here in town!

    Does that mean Asheville should stop trying to lure in more industry? Hell no, of course not.

    But our nascent craft beer industry is exactly the sort of thing that will convince people to bring their workforces to our area. It makes the area more attractive to potential investors and adds to the already appealing list of positive attributes that WNC has.

    Cheers to the Asheville craft beer community! Making Asheville a better place since 1994.

  23. paul_randall

    This is such an idiotic “title”. People vote on line from anywhere with absolutely nothing to judge by other than having an internet connection. I hope this is the last year that they do it. It’s the equivalent of winning a “Dundee” from Michael Scott. The last thing this town needs is another friggin’ brewery.

  24. luther blissett

    “to compare it to a real industry like auto manufacturing, really?”

    Even “craft-brewed” beer is an industrial product, unlike wine, which is an agricultural one. Beer is made in factories. Brewing is an old-school industry. The big brewing cities like Milwaukee and St Louis are industrial cities. Always have been, always will be.

    You can be skeptical about the polling and Asheville’s beer credentials, but to write it off as a fake industry is dumb.

    “The primary concern is the unfounded expectation that TOURISM is the singular future of Asheville”

    Take a look at a local history: TOURISM is the past, present and future of Asheville. When people stopped coming from elsewhere, either as visitors or as long term residents and investors in the community, the city declined. That’s what’s called making the most of the hand that’s dealt ya.

  25. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Tatuaje, nowhere did I say nor do I “consider the local beer industry as based solely in tourism” any more than I consider the restaurants and hotels in Asheville “as based solely in tourism.”

    But, the exorbitant and incessant promotion of Asheville as a TOURIST destination is indisputable. Asheville markets itself widely to tourists as “fun in the mountains” for consumption of good food, beer, entertainment, festivals, weirdness, and the exceptional Biltmore House.

    If you know Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge before-and-after, you can envision Asheville two decades away, if we stay on our current tourism trajectory, cheapened and gridlocked and circumscribed as an “economy” from which there is no return.

  26. sharpleycladd

    Betty, Asheville’s links with tourism can actually be explained pretty thoroughly by talking about brewing.

    Gas costs more in Asheville. A ton of barley costs more to ship into Asheville than Atlanta, same as three tons of outbound beer. We’re in the mountains. Freight costs a fortune. It’s a miracle there’s any manufacturing in this place at all, and that manufacturing happens to be beer.

    Luther’s hit the nail on the head, I believe. From sanatoria to the Biltmore House, tourism is a pretty vital part of this area’s economy. The apparent reliance on tourism you cite is actually a function of the size of this city’s economy viz. how frigging remote it is, when you look at it in moving-goods terms. Unless we move some mountains or erect several freight terminals in city limits, those are, in fact, the cards we’re dealt.

    Put another way, with no tourism, Asheville is a city of 40-50,000 people with low wages. And no local beer, maybe. So there’s that.

  27. sharpleycladd

    And I grew up in Georgia, visited Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge as a child, and agree that things have changed. It would be nice to visit a remote, unchanged hamlet with three thousand souls honestly plying their subsistence-level lifeways. Much nicer, in any event, than living there.

  28. Betty Cloer Wallace

    TOURISM is the past, present and future of Asheville. When people stopped coming from elsewhere, either as visitors or as long term residents and investors in the community, the city declined.

    Thanks, Luther, for that information. I’ll pass it on to my relatives at our 200th+ family reunion and grave decoration day in October.

  29. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Put another way, with no tourism, Asheville is a city of 40-50,000 people with low wages.

    And put another way, WITH tourism, Asheville is a city of 40-50,000 people with low wages.

    Unless we move some mountains or erect several freight terminals in city limits, those are, in fact, the cards we’re dealt.

    How about just moving the beer “manufacturing” down to the lowlands where transportation (gas and road maintenance) is less expensive. (There’ll still be plenty of locally-produced libations up here. The mountains really have never been all that destitute.)

    It would be nice to visit a remote, unchanged hamlet with three thousand souls honestly plying their subsistence-level lifeways.

    There are still some semblance of those, if you really want to search, but honestly, they never were all that “honest.”

  30. Big Al

    Why talk about freight terminals when the traffic-calming-circles that this city so adores will just render them inaccessable?

  31. luther blissett

    “I’ll pass it on to my relatives at our 200th+ family reunion and grave decoration day in October.”

    Well done, Betty: you’re the winner of the Betty Cloer Wallace “WNCier Than Thou” Trophy for the third year in a row.

    “How about just moving the beer “manufacturing” down to the lowlands where transportation (gas and road maintenance) is less expensive.”

    Except that trucking down that soft, great-for-brewing city water isn’t going to be cheap.

  32. dpewen

    It seems to me that the tea toters are never going to accept the fact that Asheville is fact the beer city of amerika.

  33. Betty Cloer Wallace

    WNC has somehow managed to survive the periodic waves of well-meaning people who have come to save us from ourselves: missionaries, logging barons, hippies, yuppies, hipsters, anarchists, even muffin republicans—and some did prove to be worthy of redemption and have stayed, which is good.

    Asheville as “beer city” is one blip along that historic timeline during which Asheville has been chopped and channeled and rearranged to fit the times. The resiliency of Asheville is what makes AVL what it is—vibrant—which it always has been and hopefully always will be.

    Actually, the breweries are a great addition to the region at this point in time, and the growing increase in home brew is even more interesting. The breweries, of course, are a result of prior tourism, not the immediate cause, but they are clearly contributing to the growing influx of tourists and other kinds of interested transients.

    It’s the increased deluge of tourists that is troublesome and costly (for all taxpayers), though, and we must not let the ratio of producers to consumers shift too far toward the tourists—or we’ll become another Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge.

    [dpewen, what’s a “tea toter”?]

  34. sharpleycladd

    *sigh* Highland Brewing won’t tell us the exact numbers, but it’s safe to say they’re not selling all, or even most, of their production in Asheville. For the gazillionth time, beer MANUFACTURING is bringing money into the local economy from Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, and Knoxville. Truckloads of the stuff leave town, checks come in the mail, people get paid. It’s called MANUFACTURING. It is a substantial addition to the city’s wage base. Several breweries operate in rehabbed buildings, resulting in gynormous property-tax increases. The tourist thing that’s dominated this thread is a red herring, a bete noire, an idee fixe, and many other things that can be described with two words, preferably foreign. If Betty is serious about tourism turning our economy into a monoculture, she should start picketing the Biltmore House and leave breweries alone.

Leave a Reply