New Belgium Brewing CEO Kim Jordan responds to criticism from Lagunitas Brewing founder and owner Tony Magee. Magee publicly criticized New Belgium, a “rich business,” for accepting millions in incentives as Lagunitas pays for its own new Chicago brewery with private financing, and without incentives.
From BeerPulse on Tuesday: Lagunitas owner chides New Belgium for taking public funds, touts private financing
Here is what Magee said on financing in April:
“My peer brewers…it’s kind of a corporate approach to running a business. You got to know that they went deeply into the public trough to fund the brewing operation which I could never do in a million years. What that yielded were state employment grants, tax deferments and special dispensation of cash. If anyone reads the papers, it is a pretty dry trough. So what’s a f&^$*#@ rich business like those doing that for rather than just bearing their own weight and bringing value to a community?”
Later on Wednesday, Magee tweeted, “In my mind this is how capitalism works-the government stays out and risk takers take risks. Any brewer that big has a bank. We are not socialists.”
And Jordan’s response today, also on BeerPulse:
Asheville will take in more in tax receipts with New Belgium located there than if we were not. City, county and state officials made this decision because when they added up the economic benefit, having New Belgium in North Carolina will be fiscally beneficial to the community. When the economic multiplier effect was included, it was even more impressive.
In Tony’s earlier post he writes that we (craft brewers?) are growing into the people we don’t want to be. In our case at New Belgium, we feel really fortunate to grow as we have. Specific to Asheville, we are developing a site that is listed as a Federal brownfield. This means it has hazardous waste issues as well as a history of being a landfill. There were easier sites to develop but we chose this site because it’s beautiful, we think we can do a lot to restore it, and we believe that breweries, classified as light manufacturing, can help revitalize a neighborhood, while providing great live-walk-bike opportunities for employees who will, in large measure, come from Asheville. The leaders of the city felt the same way and were excited to have a business with so much enthusiasm for stewarding a difficult property. This incentive money enables us to do just that.