RiverLink’s Cragnolin: Breweries wouldn’t be here if water wasn’t clean


RiverLink  executive director Karen Cragnolin appears in a Colorado news article about clean water and craft beer.

Cragnolin makes a case for clean water as a prerequisite to big breweries (like New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, and Oskar Blues) moving in.

From the article:

Among the reasons cited for choosing what is now being referred to as “Beer City” is the area’s clean water, according to Karen Cragnolin. She is executive director of Riverlink, a nonprofit working to revitalize the French Broad River.

“They wouldn’t be here if the water was not clean. We have three new breweries here – the second and third-largest craft breweries in the U.S. It’s imperative that we take care of our water.”

Cragnolin and others are concerned about the continued health of the state’s water, since funding has been drastically reduced to North Carolina’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund. At its peak in 2005, the fund was awarded $100 million annually from the North Carolina Legislature, but recent funding is just $10 million, a 90 percent decrease.

California’s Sierra Nevada will also be moving to the region in coming months. Cragnolin explains that Asheville was chosen over such competing cities as Philadelphia.

“It makes a difference. It makes it a place that people want to live. You know, in the old days, people moved to where the jobs are – and now, with this changing economy, we have more and more people who actually pick a place to live and then create a job.”

Read the full article here. The article also notes that New Belgium Asheville will bring an estimated 1200 jobs, at an a average wage of $50,000 per year: 43 percent higher than the average wage in the county.