Roanoke, Asheville step up media campaigns in race for Deschutes Brewery


Update Oct. 20: Another story from Roanoke via, “Why Roanoke? Why NOT Roanoke? Deshcutes – we’re excited to have you”:

And yes, we love our local breweries we have now, which at last count, number around eight, just in the city. And that’s another thing. If you guys head to that “other” place, you won’t be the biggest. You will initially enjoy some fanfare, but then, it’ll be business as usual, because there are SO MANY breweries there. Here, you would be king. Top dog. I would imagine we could name part of the AT for you. Hell I’m up for naming one of our mountains after you. But I am sure of one thing. Roanoke will love you. And will support you. And will join, maintain and grow your workforce, continue to establish your brand. Because, it will be our brand too. And we like our brand. There isn’t another like it. This is one of those relationships that just make sense. You guys have number crunchers to figure out the deep economics. But, you cannot equate a value on having a city embrace you.

Update Oct. 19: The Asheville Citizen-Times has published a story and an editorial since I first wrote this. Here are the links, and a tidbit or two:

Deschutes Brewery battle down to Roanoke and Asheville? A sample:

While Deschutes management is not commenting on possible locations, Charlottesville, Virginia, was once been believed to be in the mix. But Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the brewery is now examining other potential locations after Albemarle County, Virginia, supervisors declined to rezone as much land as would be needed to lure the project, which will bring it at least 100 jobs.

And this C-T editorial, headlined: “A great place to live and prosper.” A sample:

Deschutes would not be facing a ground-up affair here, as brewery support services and expertise are already written into Asheville’s DNA. The city is the creative epicenter of craft brewing in the East.

The supply chain is in place. The education component is here thanks to A-B Tech and Blue Ridge Community College; students have access to the full gamut of production, operations, safety and sanitation, fermentation, agriculture and marketing components.

The wheel is running smoothly here. No need to reinvent it. We encourage Deschutes officials to simply ask their friends in the business.

Original post Oct. 14: The race to land the East Coast home of Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery is heating up in Asheville and Roanoke as media organizations and fans on social media make 11th-hour pushes to sway the Deschutes decision.

The craft brewer says it will make a decision before the end of the year about where it will build its new brewery and employee about 100 people. Asheville and Roanoke are on the short list, and in recent days, folks in both cities have been more vocal in making their case.

Earlier this week, a Roanoke Times editorial pointed out area highlights the newspaper hoped Deschutes would notice. It’s the second time the newspaper has editorialized about what a great fit Roanoke is for Deschutes. Here’s a snippet:

For instance, we’re in the middle of a rich and unique musical culture. (Deschutes CEO Michael) Lalonde may not get that flipping through the radio dial, but if he knew to stop by the Roanoke City Market Building on Wednesday nights, he’d find himself smack in the middle of the Roanoke Old Time Jam.
On the other end of the cultural spectrum, it may look like our movie houses carry only the big-name releases — yet the Grandin Theatre just wrapped up its Latino Film Festival, and even the chain theaters often host Indian movies. If he’s here next weekend, the Deschutes president could go see the Bollywood romantic comedy “Shaandaar,” which opens Oct. 22 at Valley View Grande.

(Pro tip to editorial writers: When writing about the CEO of a brewery you want to land, spell his name correctly. It’s LaLonde.) The editorial notes that a local fan has started a Facebook page in support of Roanoke’s effort to woo Deschutes. It has nearly 1,600 likes. The effort is reminiscent of Asheville’s online voting effort to be named “Beer City USA” in a non-scientific poll. Thousands voted, and Asheville won that title five years in a row.

The Asheville Citizen-Times on Wednesday published a story by beer writer Tony Kiss (does the Roanoke newspaper have a writer devoted solely to covering the local beer scene? Didn’t think so.) It might as well have been an opinion piece, because there was absolutely no news in the story. But it did once again get local officials on the record about how much they want Deschutes. Under the headline “Asheville eager to land Deschutes,” here’s Asheville trying hard to impress:

Deschutes would “help raise the profile of the beer-related experience in Asheville,” agreed Stephanie Brown, executive director of the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Breweries “provide a critical mass of high-quality experiences,” she said. The bureau does not track beer tourism specifically, but Brown said the breweries are part of an overall economic magnet that includes outdoor activities and highly regarded restaurants.

Buncombe County is home to 21 breweries and more than 40 are scattered around the mountains, with more in planning or building stages.

Here at Ashvegas, I’ve also been following the story. Here’s my latest on why Asheville is best for Deschutes.


smytty October 16, 2015 - 12:16 pm

Tony Kiss might be the last remaining local C-T reporter before long.

Doc October 15, 2015 - 12:47 pm

Tax Credits > Facebook Likes

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