(Cheers: A slide show from the announcement. Photos by Max Cooper)
This post features dispatches and photos via Twitter and other information unveiled at Gov. Bev Perdue’s economic development announcement in Mills River. After months of speculation, she joined representatives from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to announce the large craft brewery will build a new production facility in the area. Stay tuned to mountainx.com and pick up a copy of the Feb. 1 print issue for more on this development.
The announcement began at 2 p.m. Here’s a variety of reports via Twitter:
@RussBowenNews13: Rep. Heath Shuler confirms @SierraNevada coming to Mills River NC. 125 jobs
@AVLBeerguy: Sierra Nevada owner Ken Grossman and Gov Bev Perdue announce new Sierra Nevada brewery for Mills River.
@JakeFrankel: Gov Perdue announcing Sierra will open facility in Mills River, NC, creating about 95 full time jobs. http://t.co/exqzuJf1
@JakeFrankel: Perdue: Sierra will turn grain in to gold. This is great for the WNC economy.
@JakeFrankel: Sierra founder/CEO Ken Grossman offers praise for AVL, says brewery was courted by “every city on the East.
@JakeFrankel: Ken: We fell in love with this land. It’s near a river, mountain bike trails, things that I love. It’s the right fit.
@JakeFrankel: Ken: My son and his wife will move here to help run facility. They wanted to live here more than other cities in consideration.
@JakeFrankel: Ken: We felt very welcome by local brewers, that is a big factor in decision. We hope to have a positive, productive relationship.
@JakeFrankel: Sierra offering free brews to attendees! #avlbeer #avlawesome http://t.co/XYlKIAG1
@JakeFrankel: Perdue notes (laughing) it’s the first economic development announcement she’s made where people are drinking beer.
@Brewgasm: So@JakeFrankel, which @SierraNevada brew is Gov. Perdue drinking right now?
@AVLBeerguy Sierra Nevada will hire 95 full time employees and 80 part timers for new Mills River brewery.
@JakeFrankel Sierra offering free brews to attendees! #avlbeer #avlawesome http://t.co/vODxRV2
@AVLBeerguy: Sierra Nevada to begin construction on Mills River brewery in mid to late 2012.
@JakeFrankel: Sierra offering free brews to attendees! #avlbeer #avlawesome http://t.co/ZuQlwJ5
@JakeFrankel: Brian Grossman: My father’s done a great job. Family is important to this business. I look forward to raising a family here.
@JakeFrankel: Brian asks Perdue to join her in a toast, a big “cheers” as the Gov sips a brew with the Grossmans
@Brewgasm: Has he read @edgymama? MT @JakeFrankel: Brian Grossman: I look forward to raising a family here.
@JakeFrankel: And now time for an informal celebration #avlbeer (Rep. Tim Moffit seems to be enjoying himself: http://t.co/pUnU2mZW
@Brewgasm: Carpool time. Good think I’m not drinking @SierraNevada out in Mills River, NC, with all you wild media folks.
@JakeFrankel: . @Brewgasm They’ve got the pale and torpedo on tap, looks like Perdue’s drinking a pale. http://t.co/lPa7DSMJ
@Brewgasm: @JakeFrankel See if Ken Grossman corners Rep. Moffitt about water quality. I hear it *may* be an issue.
@JakeFrankel: The facility blue print: Sierra plans to build from scratch, include barley farm on property http://t.co/32uuNSo
@JakeFrankel: And now time for an informal celebration #avlbeer (Rep. Tim Moffit seems to be enjoying himself: http://t.co/zxCUe7B
@JakeFrankel: Beautiful property out here, almost adjacent to the airport and near the Buncombe line. http://t.co/RqVzMQr4
@JakeFrankel: Wish I didn’t have lunch right before I came here (Sierra will have a restaraunt at the facility #avlbeer #avlyum http://t.co/yAWdBK53
@Brewgasm: MT @_tatuaje_: Thoughts re: new Sierra Nevada plant, 19 mi from CBD? That’s further than Pisgah. Keep people from going?
Excerpts from Ken Grossman’s statement to the media
For the past several years, we’ve reviewed over 200 sites with painstaking detail and an exhaustive list of qualitative and quantitative considerations. In North Carolina, we were humbled by the community, its values and the outstanding craft beer culture in the area. … it was important for us to choose a location similar to our home in Chico, CA. Mills River and the Asheville area feel like a great fit for us; a close-knit community with outstanding quality of life, shared values and access to the outdoors.
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. …
Construction will take approximately two years …
Here’s the entire press release from the office of Gov. Perdue:
Governor Perdue: Sierra Nevada Taps NC
Beer Leader to Build Brewery in Henderson County
MILLS RIVER—Gov. Bev Perdue today joined executives from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., an independent, family-owned pioneer in craft brewing, in announcing that they will locate a brewing facility for the East Coast in Mills River as well as an onsite restaurant. The project was made possible in part by a $1.025 million grant from the One North Carolina Fund.
Gov. Perdue was joined by Sierra Nevada CEO Ken Grossman and other local officials for the announcement in Henderson County.
The company plans to create 95 full-time jobs as part of the grant and invest $107.5 million during the next five years in Henderson County. In addition the company expects to hire another 80 part-time employees and expects to create about 60 construction and mechanical jobs during its 24-month building phase. These jobs will be created in gradual phases starting in mid to late 2012 and continuing through 2013.
“We are proud that Sierra Nevada, with its tradition of innovation, stewardship and quality, chose to tap all the great things North Carolina had to offer,” said Gov. Perdue. “This announcement enhances a burgeoning craft beer industry in our state. The investment, jobs and brand recognition Sierra Nevada brings will be a boon to this region and help confirm North Carolina as a destination for innovation.”
North Carolina is home to more craft breweries than any Southern state – 21 brewpubs and 28 production breweries – with western North Carolina being particularly strong. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is one of America’s first craft breweries and helped to popularize the bold and flavorful beers that are the hallmarks of the craft beer industry. Founded in 1980, Sierra Nevada continues to be recognized for the use of only whole-cone hops and for the quality and craftsmanship of their products. Sierra Nevada currently employs in excess of 500 dedicated employees and is the second largest privately held brewery in the United States.
“After carefully looking at more than 200 sites east of the Mississippi, Sierra Nevada is pleased to locate our second brewery in Henderson County,” said Grossman. “We are very grateful to the officials in Mills River, Henderson County and the State of North Carolina whose time, effort and commitment were instrumental in making this happen. We are proud to be associated with the many fine breweries that call North Carolina home.”
According to Grossman, an expansion to the East Coast was a responsible decision. “The original brewery in Chico is reaching capacity, and the demand for our beer continues to increase,” he explained. “We felt the most responsible thing to do was to build a brewery on the other side of the country, to lessen our impact on the environment while continuing to place great craft beer into the hands of our consumers.”
Salaries will vary by job function, but the average annual wage for the new jobs will be $41,526 plus benefits. The Henderson County average annual wage is $32,240.
The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds. These grants also require and are contingent upon local matches.
“Sierra Nevada knows that North Carolina is a place where the business climate will help them grow and thrive,” said Sen. Tom Apodaca, of Hendersonville. “I’m sure my sons are looking forward to buying some of the first bottles brewed here.”
“This terrific news is a perfect example of leaders at the state and local level, and from different political parties, working together to bring jobs to the people of North Carolina,” said Rep. Chuck McGrady of Hendersonville.
North Carolina continues to have a top-ranked business climate. Through Gov. Perdue’s JobsNOW initiative, the state works aggressively to create jobs, train and retrain its workforce, and lay the foundation for a strong and sustainable economic future.
Through use of the One NC Fund, more than 60,000 jobs and $11 billion in investment have been created since 2001. Other partners that helped with this project include: the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Community Colleges, N. C. Department of Transportation, Henderson County, the Town of Mills River, Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, and the Golden LEAF Foundation.
For more information about Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. including job opportunities, please visit SierraNevada.com.
Statements from AdvantageWest in regards to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. announcement
W. THOMAS “TOM” ALEXANDER, CHAIRMAN OF THE ADVANTAGEWEST BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
“We’re delighted that Sierra Nevada has chosen Western North Carolina for their East Coast manufacturing and distribution operation. I’m particularly proud of the key role AdvantageWest played in bringing them here. Our staff has worked diligently for almost a year on this project – ever since Matt Raker, AdvantageWest’s VP for Entrepreneurship & AdvantageGreen, learned about this opportunity while he was attending a renewable energy site-consultant conference in Tulsa, Okla.”
SCOTT T. HAMILTON, ADVANTAGEWEST PRESIDENT & CEO
“Upon learning of the opportunity, we worked closely with Sierra Nevada’s consultants, company officials and the 23 counties in our region to find sites that matched the requirements for this project. Originally 11 sites in five counties from across the AdvantageWest region were submitted. We served as the ‘go-to people’ for the company – essentially we were a one-stop shop for this project. As the company narrowed down their site search, AdvantageWest continued to work closely with Sierra Nevada, the Town of Mills River, Henderson County, and the N.C. Department of Commerce, doing everything we could to win this project for our region. We are thrilled that all this effort paid off in creating new jobs and taxable investment in the AdvantageWest region, and heartily welcome Sierra Nevada to Western North Carolina.”