After years of deliberation, New Belgium Brewing Company has decided to expand in Asheville, North Carolina, and not Philadelphia. As recently as late last year, New Belgium narrowed the selection down to Philadelphia and Asheville. The $175 million expansion is the first in the company's history, which is based in Fort Collins, Colorado. New Belgium announced that the new venture will bring 150 new jobs to Asheville.
Earlier this year, Sierra Nevada also announced an expansion in the same little town of Asheville, which boasts a population of just under 75,000. What this means is that the second largest craft brewery (Sierra Nevada) and the third largest (New Belgium) just turned Asheville into the new hub of craft production on the East Coast.
This decision comes as a huge shock to locals in the beer industry, as most believed Sierra's decision to go to NC would help sway New Belgium up our direction.
One longtime local beer rep who wished to remain anonymous told Eater, "I can't see how Philly won't take this personally. Considering our stature as the best craft beer town on the East Coast, this feels like a slap in the face to us, and to our local economy. Many small breweries have made a name for themselves on the banks of the Schuylkill and the Delaware. I'm sure there will be some backlash in the community against their brand. This is Philly, and we're a beer town. It's what we do."