Across the State: Sierra Nevada Picks NC

Story by Hal Goodtree. Photo by Sean Davis.

Cary, NC – Here’s a story that caught our eye: Sierra Nevada, one of America’s best-loved and fastest-growing brewers, has chosen North Carolina for the location of their first East Coast brewery. 

Something Big is Brewing in NC

Sierra Nevada started in Chico, California in 1979. Over the years, they have come to be considered the premier craft brewer in the country. But they still brew the beer in Chico, CA.

Not for long.

Sierra Nevada CEO Ken Grossman joined North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue today in announcing the new brewery in NC. “After carefully looking at more than 200 sites east of the Mississippi, Sierra Nevada is pleased to locate our second brewery in Henderson County,” said Grossman.

According to the Governor’s office, the company plans to create 95 full-time jobs. In addition, Sierra Nevada expects to hire another 80 part-time employees and expects to create about 60 construction and mechanical jobs during its 24-month building phase.  The jobs will be created in gradual phases starting in mid to late 2012 and continuing through 2013.

The State of Beer

“North Carolina is home to more craft breweries than any Southern state – 21 brewpubs and 28 production breweries – with western North Carolina being particularly strong,” according to the Governor’s office. Who knew?

“We are proud that Sierra Nevada, with its tradition of innovation, stewardship and quality, chose to tap all the great things North Carolina had to offer,” said Gov. Perdue.  “This announcement enhances a burgeoning craft beer industry in our state.   The investment, jobs and brand recognition Sierra Nevada brings will be a boon to this region and help confirm North Carolina as a destination for innovation.”

Everyone Raise a Glass

The announcement today was a good illustration that bipartisanship continues to function in North Carolina.

“Sierra Nevada knows that North Carolina is a place where the business climate will help them grow and thrive,” said Sen. Tom Apodaca, of Hendersonville. “I’m sure my sons are looking forward to buying some of the first bottles brewed here.”

“This terrific news is a perfect example of leaders at the state and local level, and from different political parties, working together to bring jobs to the people of North Carolina,” said Rep. Chuck McGrady of Hendersonville.

Apodaca and McGrady are Republicans; Perdue is a Democrat. I’ll drink to that!

Spending One to Get One Hundred

As readers of this space know, we’re not in favor of government giveaways to lure business relocations. In fact, no one really likes them (except companies that benefit from the largess, of course).

Sierra Nevada is receiving a modest $1 million grant from the One North Carolina Fund. The company plans to invest $107.5 million during the next five years in Henderson County.

The Green Economy

I don’t know if the new brewery in Mills River, NC will have solar panels, recycled water or reclaimed brick. It might. But this is not that kind of a green project.

This facet of the green economy is about saving energy and lowering the carbon footprint. According to Ken Grossman, “We felt the most responsible thing to do was to build a brewery on the other side of the country, to lessen our impact on the environment while continuing to place great craft beer into the hands of our consumers.”

Sierra Nevada has a history of support for conservation and environmentalism. Even their name, Sierra Nevada, was inspired by Grossman’s love of hiking in the wild mountains of California.

Who Wants to Make Beer?

The note from the Governor’s Office ended with this tidbit:

For more information about Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. including job opportunities, please visit

Pale ale, anyone?