Fast Company looks at what propels Asheville’s craft beer scene: water and outdoors identity

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Is Asheville the new craft beer capital of America?

Fast Company asks the question in an article that explores why America’s second- and third-largest craft breweries chose to move here – clean water, quality of life, an environmentally progressive and outdoorsy mentality, and a thriving craft beer scene to partner with, not compete with.

From the article:

To understand what a more typical economic development project looks like, Ben Teague, the coalition’s executive director, put it this way about similar work he used to do in Mississippi: “We sold cheap land, cheap buildings. If someone came to me and said, ‘Ben, I want you to give me 100 acres of land and grade it flat, and, by the way, I want you to build me a building for a dollar and give it to me, and I will in turn give you 100 jobs,’ we would have said ‘where do I sign?’”

But Asheville, he says, has turned that model on its head. The city competed with dozens of other East Coast sites initially targeted by the two breweries (in the end, New Belgium came down to Asheville and Philadelphia). Asheville tries to sell its quality of life, its mountains, its culture. And then it comes in with the business assets. “But we’re not afraid to lead off the presentation with who we are,” Teague says.

Both New Belgium and Sierra Nevada–in fact, much of the craft brewing industry–have melded their brands with a laid-back but active outdoor vibe, cast in images of nature, mountain biking, kayaking, and campfires. Asheville conjures a similarly progressive, environmentally conscious outdoors identity. And this is really why both companies will expand into the East Coast through Asheville over the next couple of years.

Read the rest of the article here.


Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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1 Comment

  1. Dusty Allison September 5, 2012

    Exactly! The outdoors identity!! Economic development folks!…which is why everyone should be casting their vote for us (Asheville) in Blue Ridge Outdoor’s Best Mountain Towns contest! Currently Asheville is losing by over 2,000 votes to Roanoke, Virginia with only 10 days remaining. Over 50,000 votes have poured in so far and a lot of eyes are on it with results coming our in the November issue. Vote once a day every day and please share! It will be shameful if apathy causes us to lose and allow Roanoke to have the media spotlight.


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