It’s official: New Belgium looking at Asheville expansion

Logo from New Belgium Brewing

Asheville has seen rumors swirl for weeks that New Belgium is considering the city for a new brewery and looking for economic development incentives. Today, Sept. 22, Council member Jan Davis publicly confirmed the rumors at a Council of Independent Business Owners forum. He tells Xpress that while he welcomes the company, he’s skeptical about the need for incentives.

In response to a question on how to improve the business environment at the CIBO forum for Asheville City Council candidates, Davis revealed that the city is communicating with New Belgium over a possible move, and that economic incentives for the company are a possibility.

“We have an opportunity with the New Belgium brewery,” Davis said. “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 recent meetings, Sept. 13, Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners went into closed session to discuss an unspecified economic development incentive deal.

Davis noted that he supported the earlier Linamar deal, which involved over $2 million in city tax incentives for the Canadian auto-parts manufacturer, and says that due to the company’s move, related manufacturing companies are looking at Asheville.

Davis tells Xpress that “I’d love to have New Belgium here. I don’t think it would hurt the economy particularly; 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 Oscar Wong [founder of Highland Brewing] or anyone like that.”

— David Forbes, senior news reporter


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13 thoughts on “It’s official: New Belgium looking at Asheville expansion

  1. Jake

    If Mr. Davis were serious about “encourag[ing] them to be here because of the quality of life,” then he would be taking steps to make Asheville a 21st century city-of-choice for prospective employers. I have not seen him take those steps, and I have been watching closely.

  2. ashevillelokel

    I think it would be a crock to give incentives to this business.

    It is the 6th largest brewery in the Country as it is!

    No incentives were given to Highland, of LAB, or WEDGE, or Pisgah Brewing nor any of the other breweries that started up here on their own.

    If these truly independent craft brewers could make it w/o “incentives” then a company as established and large as NB should be just fine.

    • Jake

      You’d think this would be as plain as day to our elected leaders. Apparently not!

  3. Doug Sahm

    Supposedly, there are about five other cities being considered for this brewery as well and it would be almost three years before it would be open for business.

  4. Eric

    I’m a little confused by the article. Are they thinking about moving here (headquarters and all)? Or do they want to set up another brewery here? Depending on the answer, one brings a bigger variety of jobs to the area.

    I guess the question we need to ask is: are we already at critical mass for breweries in this town? Will we just be driving two or three local breweries for one big one? Or can we handle taking on a big brand that will have a wider distribution than our locals. I’ve had their beer before and didn’t think it was anything special. Then again, the same could be said for a few of the locally brewed beers, too. I guess NB appeals to all the Colorado transplants who live here.

  5. Matt Bugaj

    Instead of giving millions to New Belgium, give about two hundred thousand to Ben and Gordon at Altamont Brewing on Haywood Rd., local guys who built a great bar with their bare hands and are now rallying up the equipment to brew. Unlike auto parts, this is an industry that Asheville built from the ground up, and the last thing we need is a large corporation getting paid to come here and sop up the market.

  6. ncbyva

    clearly, unemployment doesnt concern the councilman. just lost this vote. asheville so wealthy that we walk away from supposed millions investment and hundreds of jobs? not my neighbors.

  7. Chris

    NB will not be creating jobs. They are coming here to own Asheville. VOTE THE BUMS OUT!

  8. Ricky Party

    Those of you who think New Belgium will create a lot of jobs by moving here are living in a fantasy land.

    Most, if not all, of the top positions will be staffed from their home base by company veterans looking for a change of scenery.

    Other, mid-tier positions will be filled by locals already working at existing breweries.

    The jobs that will actually be created will be the ones that open up at our established breweries, once the packaging guys and others move up to be brewers and leave a vacuum at the entry level. So we’re basically paying $3 million for a handful of grunt jobs.

    Do we need more job opportunities here? Absolutely. But is it really worth millions in government subsidies for what we’ll be getting out of it?

  9. lemonade liquor

    Stop sucking on so many lemons ya’ll. Good golly, I’m starting to feel like I wandered onto the Citizen-Times website.

    Asheville should be mega proud of this accomplishment, whether it be Google or New Belgium that chooses to come here, it because we got something good to offer. What’s the worst that can happen if we get a few solid jobs & a more concrete national rep? They aren’t trying to compete with our local breweries for goodness sakes, they’re just making a smart business move for distribution.

    It’s all good ya’ll, so just grab a local brew and relax.

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