The Beat: Rumors brewing

Signing off: Lesley Groetsch, co-host Local Edge Radio, the popular daily progressive talk program on 880 AM The Revolution, left the show Sept. 23 to pursue another job offer. She’s pictured here with co-host Blake Butler, with whom she started the show with nearly three years ago.

“For weeks, rumors have swirled around town that the Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing is considering opening a brewery in Asheville — and that Asheville and Buncombe County officials might offer the company an economic-incentive package.

At a Sept. 22 Council of Independent Business Owners forum, Council member Jan Davis revealed that the city had been in communication with the craft brewer and that economic incentives for the company are a possibility, though he didn’t favor making such a deal.

"We have an opportunity with the New Belgium brewery," said Davis. "We're going to have to make a decision on that, whether to help the brewery with incentives or encourage them to be here because of the quality of life."

In dual Sept. 13 meetings, Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners went into closed sessions to discuss unspecified economic-development incentive deals. New Belgium may have been the company discussed, several sources told Xpress.

Davis also noted that he’d supported more than $2 million in city tax incentives for the Canadian auto-parts manufacturer Linamar earlier this year. Thanks to that deal, he asserted, related manufacturing companies are now looking at Asheville.

"I'd love to have New Belgium here,” said Davis. “It's going to create good jobs. I'm not really in favor of incentivizing that — I think that's an issue. They're a well-off company: Nobody incentivized [Highland Brewing co-founder] Oscar Wong or anyone like that."

Lesley Groetsch, co-host of Local Edge Radio, leaves the show

Lesley Groetsch, co-host Local Edge Radio, the popular daily progressive talk program on 880 AM The Revolution , left the show Sept. 23 to pursue another job offer.

After nearly three years on the air, she’s now working full time for Reynolds Village, a mixed-use development in Woodfin, where she's been doing part-time marketing work since 2007. Groetsch says the company made her "an offer I couldn't refuse."

"The opportunity to work at a single job, with benefits, was too good to pass by," she explains. "I'm trying not to work 80 hours a week anymore." In addition to spending countless hours on the radio show, until recently Groetsch co-owned and co-managed a pair of downtown businesses — Tingles Cafe and Sazerac. And she's also busy raising two young children.

"There are things I want to do with my life, and radio is one of them. But it's not going to drain the life out of every other endeavor I have," she says.

In an email announcement, Brian Hall, Clear Channel Director of News/Talk Programming, wrote: "Lesley has been a very valuable asset to us and to the growth of local progressive talk here in Asheville. We have taken 880 to new heights with Lesley and Blake [Butler] becoming fixtures in our progressive community and she will be greatly missed."

Clear Channel plans to name a new co-host of Local Edge Radio soon.

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