Editor’s Note: Happy American Craft Beer Week! Part of what makes American Craft Beer unique is the spirit of support and collaboration that exists industry-wide. So this week we’re celebrating with a cultural exchange of sorts . . . today we’re honored to have Alex Dwoinen, New Belgium’s Brewing Manager at their new Asheville facility, guest blog for us on similarities he sees between Colorado and North Carolina’s craft beer communities. In turn, this Friday we’ll be visiting New Belgium in Asheville (as well as Oskar Blues in Brevard, Sierra Nevada in Mills River and Highland in Asheville – the state’s four biggest breweries all in one day!) to see how our Big Beer Brothers are spreading the gospel of North Carolina craft brewing.
Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as we go on our ACBW Road Trip!
Happy 10th anniversary to you Foothills!
As we started thinking about building on the east coast, there was no shortage of must haves on our priority list for choosing our east coast home. As a New Belgium co-owner, water, location and brewing community were at the top of my (and many others’) lists. Culture and quality of life were up there too. We wanted a place where our coworkers and their families can grow and thrive. After an extensive search, we chose Asheville . . . and after being here for almost a year, I’m so glad we did.
For the last 21 years, I’ve been a New Belgium coworker and a part of the Colorado brewing community, and I see some similarities between North Carolina and Colorado.
First and foremost: quality beer made from solid, thoughtful people. The beer community in North Carolina is strong and impressive. The number of unique breweries and varieties of beer stands out. What I’m most excited about are the great people and sense of community of brewers in NC, especially western NC.
Our long standing Rocky Mountain chapter of MBAA has afforded brewers the opportunity to get to know each other, and we look forward to being part of that in North Carolina. The camaraderie, openness, and willingness to help out is apparent in Asheville and North Carolina as well as Colorado. Brewers and production people have a sense of cooperation with one another, from sharing best practices to troubleshooting issues. I’ve continually felt I could reach out to fellow brewers for their insight.
Since the craft brewing landscape is increasingly competitive and there is finite shelf space and points of distribution, there will always be sense of competition to go with the fellowship. This ‘coopetition’ is one of the unique and fantastic parts of the brewing industry. We look forward to helping that continue to evolve in North Carolina.
Postscript: New Belgium Brewing will be bringing their 141,000 square-foot distribution center online this week in Candler, NC. The space includes 88,000 SF of refrigerated space, enough to hold 12,000,000 bottles and cans, and 50,000 full kegs of beer.