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New Belgium reveals brewery details

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7/26/2012 - New Belgium reveals brewery details
by Tony Kiss - Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- New Belgium Brewing won't be serving the first beers from its new brewery here until 2015, but planning is well under way for the site, company leaders revealed at a Wednesday night meeting.

New Belgium will make many improvements to the 18-acre Craven Street property, including a European-style beer garden, improved drainage, widened roads, bike lanes and sidewalks, company officials said. "I understand that you are nervous," New Belgium CEO Kim Jordan told a standing-room-only crowd that poured into the banquet hall at U.S. Cellular Center.

"There will be impact," she said. "But we will work hard to make it right." The company is well-funded to complete the $175 million project and will ultimately hire 140 employees, she said.

"We have spent a lot of time with our bankers," she said. "I am here to tell you that we will put" up the funding to complete the project.

New Belgium, based now in Fort Collins, Colo., will outgrow its production facility there in 2014, Jordan said. "We could have built on a lot of sites. But we wanted to be on a livable, walkable site. This site will be a challenge, but we are up for that challenge."

At the meeting, conceptual brewery drawings were unveiled that included a "liquid center" tasting room, brewhouse, malt building, offices, packaging site and a cellar space. A warehouse center will be built off-site at a location not yet decided, said Jennifer Vervier, New Belgium's director of strategic development and sustainability.

"We can bring the beer from this site out to a remote warehouse, and that will make the truck traffic through the area less invasive," shes aid.

The project will be elevated to keep it out of the 100-year flood zone of the nearby French Broad River. Many trees on the site will remain, and native vegetation and a mostly dry stream bed on the property will also be restored. Of the buildings now on the old Asheville stockyard site, some will be recycled during the "deconstruction" process that will begin this fall, Vervier said. "Heavy demolition," on the property will be done in November and December and by January, "we will start moving dirt," she said.

Area transportation improvements will include widening roads, smoothing curves and adding traffic signals around the brewery, Vervier said. The brewery is working with both the city and the state Department of Transportation to make those improvements, she said.

New Belgium will initially make bottled and kegged beer, which will be sold in the eastern United States, Vervier said. The brewery will be equipped to make up to 700,000 barrels of beer annually.

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