A Roanoke, Va., news/talk radio station is reporting that Deschutes Brewery is set to announce that it has chosen Roanoke over Asheville and several other cities as its location for its new East Coast brewery. Deschutes Brewery, located in Oregon, is one of the nation’s biggest craft breweries.
Long-time Roanoke activist and current City Council candidate E. Duane Howard says a source in Governor McAuliffe’s office tells him Deschutes Brewery is indeed coming to the Roanoke area, and a formal announcement is expected in the next few weeks. We have no confirmation from government officials or from the Oregon brewer.
Two weeks ago, VirginiaCraftBeer.com wrote that Deschutes Brewery was planning to open in Roanoke. It did not cite any sources.
Deschutes has been searching for more than a year for a suitable site for its new beer-making operation, which will bring with it more than 100 jobs.. The brewer’s president, Michael LaLonde, visited Asheville a couple of times over the months. Deschutes also checked out Greenville and Charleston in South Carolina, and other locations. Deschutes, which began its search with more than 100 locations on its list, eventually narrowed the field to a short list including Asheville and Roanoke.
Roanoke residents launched a spunky social media campaign last year to woo Deschutes, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has been aggressive in offering incentive packages to lure brewers.
The news comes as Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing gets set to open its new East Coast brewery in Asheville some four years after announcing it had chosen Asheville as its second home.
Good for Roanoke, and good for Asheville because we get Deschutes beer without having to a) travel to the west coast; b) subsidize the cost of the brewery. They clearly wanted to be the big fish in a small pond, and Virginia was willing to cough up millions of dollars for the privilege.
At this point I don’t care anymore. They can have at it. We’ve had to endure this long and drawn out process just so they could leverage Asheville as a pawn to gain better incentives from VA. Maybe now the good folks in Roanoke will get over their Asheville complex and focus on their own culture and quality of life. Best of luck Deschutes in Roanoke. Now you can fulfill their desperate dreams of dominating their scene. Or as they said, “to be big fish in their small pond.”