Travelers on Highway 280 past the Asheville Airport have seen signs directing them to Sierra Nevada’s massive brewing complex. A 23-beer taproom and restaurant opened there in March, but alt-country rockers Driver-By Truckers will officially open a 16,000 square-foot beer garden and amphitheater in Mills River with a sold-out show Thursday, Oct. 8.
“We’ve always had a very special relationship with the Asheville area,” says Driver-By Truckers frontman Patterson Hood. “When we were first starting out, we played a tiny venue below a record store and a small room in Black Mountain. We moved to The Orange Peel nearly 15 years ago and have played multiple-night stands there nearly every year. I’m pretty sure we have opened a new venue before, probably several, but our hope is to play the best rock show on Earth each and every night.”
That fact is not lost on Brian Grossman, a second-generation brewer at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. “We spent a lot of time talking about who we wanted as our opening act,” he says. “We needed an act that fit our culture and felt like Sierra Nevada. It needed to be great original music with a bit of attitude and the ability to create a lot of excitement in our community. Drive-By Truckers satisfied just about every item on our wish list and, lucky for us, they were available and willing. We’re stoked to have them play our inaugural show.”
The Mills River amphitheater can accommodate at least 700 people and, while tickets for the show sold out soon after it was first announced, it will still hopefully be a night for all visitors to remember.
“For this particular show, we’re just thrilled to finally be able to showcase our venue,” says Grossman. “We’ve been working hard for years and we’re really proud of the final result. The Truckers are about to release a live album later this month, so I’m sure they’re going to come out with a great energy and put on an awesome performance. As for the overall goal of the amphitheater, we’re always looking for ways to celebrate craft. We want to create a top notch experience for the die-hard craft drinker, but also provide an opportunity for the non-craft or new-craft drinker to experiment and broaden their horizons. Our hope is our concert-goers come to the venue for a show and leave with a better understanding and respect for craft beer.”
Hood agrees. “We play amphitheaters frequently and it is usually a lot of fun,” he sys. “It should be especially nice this time of year. Driver-By Truckers very famously love beer.”