Gov. Bev Perdue today announced that New Belgium Brewing, the third largest craft brewer in the country and the maker of Fat Tire Amber Ale, will build its East Coast brewery in Buncombe County. The company plans to create as many as 154 jobs and invest about $175 million over seven years. The project was made possible in part by a $1,000,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund. The state grant will be based on the company creating 130 jobs and making $115 million investment over the five years of the project.
"New Belgium looked all around and chose North Carolina as the location for the company's one brewery east of the Mississippi," Gov. Perdue said. "A big factor in sealing this deal was that company leaders knew they can find a skilled workforce, thanks to our history of investing in education and job training. New Belgium's expansion will enhance the craft brewery cluster that is growing here. The jobs and investment the company is committing will be a major boon for the region and for the state."
New Belgium Brewing, headquartered in Fort Collins, Co., sold 712,000 barrels of beer in just 28 states and the District of Columbia in 2011. Over 150,000 people visit the brewery in Fort Collins every year. As part of the project in Asheville, New Belgium will be constructing a new state-of-the-art brewery and tasting facility that will be a destination for visitors of the emerging brewery cluster in Buncombe County and the surrounding western North Carolina region.
"After several years of searching we are incredibly excited to have landed in Asheville," said Kim Jordan, CEO and co-founder of New Belgium. "From the deep sense of community to the rich natural environment and the opportunity to revitalize a brownfield site near a vibrant downtown, Asheville has everything we've been looking for in a location for our second brewery."
Salaries will vary by job function, but the average annual wage for the new jobs during the first five years of the project will be $48,222 with the average annual wage for all 154 jobs estimated at more than $50,000. The Buncombe County average annual wage is $33,800.
"New Belgium will provide a boost to Buncombe County's economy, both in jobs and the tourism the new brewery will help attract," said Sen. Martin Nesbitt, of Asheville. "This kind of major economic development is possible because we have invested in education and transportation, building a workforce and infrastructure that are second to none."
"Buncombe County is quickly becoming a hub for craft brewing," said Rep. Susan Fisher, of Asheville. "Companies like New Belgium are drawn here, not just because of our natural resources, but because of a top notch business climate created through years of forward-looking policies on education and support for business."
The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds. These grants also require and are contingent upon local matches.
North Carolina continues to have a top-ranked business climate. Through Gov. Perdue's JobsNOW initiative, the state works aggressively to create jobs, train and retrain its workforce, and lay the foundation for a strong and sustainable economic future.
Through use of the One NC Fund, more than 60,000 jobs and $11 billion in investment have been created since 2001. Other partners that helped with this project include: the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Community Colleges, AdvantageWest, Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, Golden LEAF Foundation and Progress Energy.