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