Sierra Nevada reportedly considering 50-acre site on French Broad River

Sierra Nevada Brewing CEO Ken Grossman reportedly told members of the Asheville Brewers Alliance last night that Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is considering a 50-acre site on French Broad River, but that no decision has been made yet.

Twitter was strikingly silent after the meeting of the Asheville Brewers Alliance yesterday evening, despite having been active in the days leading up to the meeting. The silence was broken just after midnight, when the owner of the local pub Thirsty Monk, Barry Bialik, tweeted:

Great ABA mtg with Ken & Brian from Sierra. No decision yet. 50 acres on French Broad River in Hendo County is under consideration. IF they move here, SN to allow #AVLBeer brewers access to world-class labs & [easier] access to raw materials. Many agree would be great move.

An hour earlier, French Broad Brewing’s Andy Dahm had tweeted, “It was an honor to meet a founder of America’s real beer industry, Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada. Thanks to Highland for hosting!”

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners voted Dec. 12 to offer economic development incentives to an unnamed company — rumored to be Sierra Nevada Brewing — that wants to open a facility in the county.

Ken Grossman, co-founder and CEO of California-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., has been in Western North Carolina this week and planned to meet with the Asheville Brewers Alliance on Dec. 14 about possible plans for an East Coast expansion here, according to an article the Hendersonville Times-News.

Last month, Tim Schaller, ABA President and owner of Wedge Brewing, reported to Xpress that Sierra Nevada was considering Henderson County for a new production facility. “We’ve been happy that Ken has reached out to us and wants to meet and discuss our concerns,” Schaller said. “His history is good with supporting other breweries.”

Terrence Sullivan, Sierra’s assistant brew master, spent several days in Asheville last week and taught a class to regional beer-industry folks at the Thirsty Monk downtown on Dec. 8.

“The brewery is using the equation of looking at the quality of life, the cost of living, the schools and more, when deciding where to move,” Sullivan reported.

“Sierra Nevada’s decision to build a brewing establishment in Henderson County will be a boon and a challenge to the local beer industry, and bring much needed manufacturing jobs to the area,” said Oscar Wong, CEO and founder of Asheville’s Highland Brewing Company.

“I can’t think of any other brewery I’d be as excited about coming here,” said owner/head brewer Andy Cubbin of Southern Appalachian. “I really respect the way they do business, and I think they’ve made it a priority to reach out to brewers here.”

Ken Grossman called Cubbin directly; Grossman will meet privately with Cubbin and his wife, Andy Cubbin said on Dec. 12. “If Sierra comes here, I think it will have a positive effect on our business,” he said.

About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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2 thoughts on “Sierra Nevada reportedly considering 50-acre site on French Broad River

  1. Jeff Fobes

    Tweets from Anne Fitten Glenn (@brewgasm):

    After meeting w Ken Grossman of @SierraNevada last night, Tim Schaller says no one from ABA unhappy abt them possibly coming.

    @SierraNevada looking at 50 acres near airport and French Broad River w rail access, per Schaller & Bialik of @monkpub.

    @SierraNevada family-owned–Brian Grossman will run new facility–looking at quality of life as well as transportation for beer.

    ABA seems mollified, despite incentives package. Schaller says Grossman understands their concerns.

    @SierraNevada looking at 50 acres near airport and French Broad River w rail access, per Schaller & Bialik of @monkpub.

    After meeting w Ken Grossman of @SierraNevada last night, Tim Schaller says no one from ABA unhappy abt them possibly coming.

    • bill smith

      Now if your writers could use the same sort of attribution…

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