West Asheville. Hank Williams, Jr., David Allen Coe and Waylon Jennings.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Asheville Beer

Asheville has long been famous for its stunning scenery, lively mountain music and famous attractions such as Biltmore and the Blue Ridge Parkway. And now, Asheville has become the craft-brewing center of the Southeast.  Asheville beer has garnered so much enthusiasm that it was named the winner of the Examiner's “Beer City, USA” poll four years running.  - Source

This month is NC Beer Month, and Asheville has an incredible amount of activities centered around its burgeoning craft beer industry - an industry that really only got going in the late '90s.

The $175 million facility will be just the second brewery for the nation's third-largest craft brewer. The brewery will launch production in early 2015 with 50 new jobs and ultimately will employ 154 workers by the time it is fully built out in 2020.  - full article, Denver Post

In the video above, pay special attention to what the CEO of New Belgium says about Asheville and its people, and how this influenced their decision to grow their product and brand here.  And to the see the vision the company, Asheville, and the state of North Carolina have for this new brewery, check out New Belgium's website.  New Belgium is not just building a giant complex and bringing jobs.  They are working with the city of Asheville to continue the revitalization started in The River Arts District many years ago.

The RiverWay Connector is an example:

RiverWay Connector Segment (Greenway) Design and Construction  An off street walking path (greenway connector) will be constructed along the riverfront edge to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian traffic between the New Belgium's Visitor’s Center/Tasting room and the City of Asheville’s planned urban parkway- the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay. The RiverWay is part of an adopted plan to link regional attractions (including the North Carolina Arboretum, Western North Carolina Nature Center, River Arts District, and the Blue Ridge Parkway) together into a cohesive unit that can act as an economic engine. This segment of the RiverWay will also provide required bicycle and pedestrian access to visitor and employee facilities via the Low Impact Parking Lot (below). This project is being implemented as part of the City’s Complete Streets Policy. The City will maintain the greenway segment as part of it’s overall network.   - Source

It might interest you to know that I have probably averaged drinking 1-2 bottles of beer a year in the six years Kade and I have been in Asheville.  We just don't really like beer.  What truly intrigues me, though - and excites me - is Asheville's entrepreneurial spirit and its multi-faceted and multi-dimensional assets, natural and man-made.  For a city its size, Asheville packs a very big punch.  Naturally, it helps to have anchors like the mountains, Blue Ridge Parkway, arts and crafts and the Biltmore, which draw people no matter what.  Yet, now, other facets are making names for themselves:  wine, beer, restaurants, festivals, music, movies, spas, creative writing, and anything green.  To me, the secret is fairly simple:  a city that welcomes creative people from diverse backgrounds; a "live and let live" attitude that recognizes that good ideas can come from anywhere; stunning scenic beauty that can inspire and rejuvenate the mind and body; more moderate and assorted religious views and philosophies; and a willingness of people and governments to work together for long-term prosperity and a better quality of life.

For those who want to learn more about the history of mountain brewing in Asheville, try this book.

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