When I stopped by to check out the New Belgium Brewery that is being built in Asheville, I expected to learn more about the beer what I was so impressed to learn about is how New Belgium is transforming the community of Asheville.
I got to visit with Susanne Hackett, the Community and Media Relations Specialist for New Belgium.
We started our conversation by looking at the brewery from the hill right above the development. The view along the French Broad River is amazing. It is hard to believe that this site we are looking at is a brownfield site. New Belgium intentionally looked for a brownfield site to develop so they would not take agricultural land out of production.
Why did New Belgium select Asheville for the new site? Their Fort Collins location was at capacity so they were in search of a new venue. Asheville is a city that is creative and committed to sustainability, which is embedded in New Belgium’s culture. They also have an established craft brewing scene, which they really liked. The location was key too. Asheville’s central east coast location is perfect. Seemed like Asheville’s creativity, brewery scene and location made it a perfect match for New Belgium.
The site will have many sustainable features. They are re-purposing some of the old materials from the stockyard site. The space will have daylighting in production areas to cut down on energy consumption for lighting. They will offer covered bike parking for those who want to ride to work. All these elements will hopefully end up with LEED certification for the site.
I was able to speak with Stephanie Monson Dahl, the City’s River District Director about the impact that New Belgium was having on the community. She said that New Belgium has been a catalyst and a proof point of really good things that could happen in the River Arts District. It has energized the community and helped start things.
From my view on top of the hill, I can see the vision that New Belgium had in calling Asheville their new home. From the looks of things they are transforming the community and are a catalyst for the good things to come as a result of them moving to the area. New Belgium is hoping to be brewing beer by the end of 2015. I cannot wait for my next visit and to be able to enjoy a beer by the river. Cheers!
To learn more about the New Belgium Brewery in Asheville check out their site here.