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New Belgium in Asheville: What the Fort Collins beer community thinks of New Belgium

| December 6, 2012 | Comments (43)

Ashvegas asked the small breweries and brewpubs of Fort Collins, New Belgium’s Colorado home, what they thought of the company.

We asked questions like, What can Asheville expect? What can our beer scene expect? What’s the worst part about sharing the scene with a craft beer behemoth?

We talked to New Belgium’s competitors on the Fort Collins brewing scene: Brew pubs and local, independent craft breweries that are the Asheville Brewing, Green Man, Highland Brewing and Pisgah of New Belgium’s Colorado home since the early ’90s.

Response was prompt and often passionate. Since we talked exclusively to brewers and brewery owners, we focused more on New Belgium’s place in the beer scene than in the local community as a whole. But still, a larger picture emerged.

We didn’t set out to write a puff piece. But sometimes, nobody has anything bad to say.

Yes, there are serious concerns here in Asheville over New Belgium’s new manufacturing plant, particularly over traffic demands on the already congested Haywood Road, currently scheduled to be a major delivery route over the next decade. As a community we need to respond, keeping local leaders accountable about neighborhood health and healthy growth as well as revenue and jobs.

Fort Collins, population 143,000 or so, isn’t Asheville, and doesn’t seem to have faced our infrastructure issues. But here’s what select members of its brewing community think of New Belgium.

***

From Steve Jones, owner of Pateros Creek Brewing Company in Fort Collins

When you meet New Belgium employees, you’re like, Why are these people so nice? You want to do a little poking and prodding, see what’s behind all that. But eventually you realize that this company was built on a different structure than anything you’ve ever heard of. You realize it’s all about the employees, and how excited they are about what they do.

You think, this is unreal. But that’s the kind of company they are. They are serious about letting people follow their passion.

New Belgium gives back to the community. It’s one of the reasons I even opened a brewery. They’re like a big brother. I’m like, Can you find me some grain for this? And they’ll help you out. They don’t look at other breweries as a competitor.

Asheville can expect a company that will be part of the community, involved with everything it can. They hire people involved with the community and ask them, What do you need?

It seems like a grandiose thing to say, but they want to make everything better.

If New Belgium has done anything for Fort Collins, it’s made it better. It hasn’t done anything else than make it better.

The only drawback is that they’ve been here a long time, and they take up tap space. That makes it a tight commodity. You have to convince the owner that you’re as good as New Belgium. And you know, that’s not even really a drawback. It makes you a better brewer. You want to match yourself to that quality of beer.

You guys are lucky to have such a great company coming to your area. Welcome them. They want to be part of Asheville as much as Asheville wants them.

From Amanda Johnson-King of the family-owned Odell Brewing Co. of Fort Collins

We’ve been in Fort Collins since 1989, and NBB opened up a few years later. They’ve been our neighbors for nearly 20 years. We have a great relationship (as do most craft breweries). You’ll often find their folks in our tap room and ours in theirs.

Our production teams also help support each other if one of us runs out of parts or materials. We’ve also collaborated on many events and charitable projects like the Sustainable Living Fair.

From Dwight Hall, head brewer and managing partner, CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing of Fort Collins

NBB is the real deal. Their success speaks to what good brewers they are. They treat their employees great. They are a benevolent member of the community and have been very open to helping other brewers in Fort Collins. Honestly, you would be hard pressed to find many detractors of NBB in Fort Collins.

From Brad Lincoln, president of Funkwerks saison brewery of Fort Collins

When we first started as home brewers, we met New Belgium and said we were a saison brewery. They invited us over.  And they actually put our beer through their tasting panel, and gave us feedback.

Now they sell us keg shells practically at scrap value. They’re really churning through wooden barrels, which they sell to you at a discount, at about one third the price they would ordinarily be.

The beer-drinking public will see more beer events the whole town gathers around, like the Tour de Fat.

The best thing is the camaraderie with the employees. They’re buying our beer for their Christmas party, buying some other local beers for their Christmas party. Barrels and kegs are great, but I really like the bond between our employees.

There really are no drawbacks. It’s been pretty positive. They’re pretty big on being members of the community.

 

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Category: Asheville beer, Asheville News

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Comments (43)

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  1. Kenneth says:

    I am a Fort Collins resident. I have never been to Asheville but i am willing to bet that two cities in different parts of the country might be a tad different in many respects and similar in many ways as well. I love to drink good beer and the Fort provides. NBB has many good beers but will always be outshined by the far superior Odells and Equinox. I do not work at NBB. NBB supports many local arts and music, businesses and manage to throw quite a few good shindigs at their brewery as well from ski flicks to free cyclocross races. Whether you are a fan of their beer or not we here in Fort Collins cannot deny the importance and pride of having a business such as NBB here in our town. I plan to drink many good beers in Asheville this memorial day during my first visit!

  2. Austin says:

    God, I love NIMBY’s. Along with the death and taxes, they’re the only constants of life in Asheville.

    However, I do have to say that all this handwringing makes me wonder how the surrounding neighborhoods coped back when the River District was an actual, functioning industrial area with factories, mills, warehouses, tanneries, the train station, and dozens of hotels all up and running side by side by side. Apparently they got along fine then, and I daresay they’ll get along now that a major new employer is coming in.

    And speaking of that new employer… Asheville is both grossly underpaid and overpriced. To have an employer coming in who plans to pay a decent wage and is willing to jump through practically every flaming hoop we’re throwing at them in the name of greenways, drainage, traffic mitigation and God knows what all else, just to be in the actual city instead of out with Sierra Nevada in the Mills River boonies… More power to them. We need them and more, and we need them in town paying taxes and making an efficient use of the land rather than sprawling in the burbs.

    Oh, and to those who will tell me that I just don’t understand because I don’t live in the neighborhood and won’t have to deal with the traffic — I live on the 2-lane portion of Sweeten Creek. You want to talk about traffic? Cry me a tributary.

  3. Jonathan Wainscott says:

    Nate and Noah, you are right. My tone is too hot. My level of frustration, legitimate as it may be, has gotten the better of me at times.

    apologies…

    • Noah says:

      No worries, man. It happens to the best of us. And the internet certainly has a way of bringing it out ;)

      As for me, I just really hope that we can work with NBB to find a good, workable solution to the traffic headache that the brewery will bring. Because you’re right – there will be traffic issues if we rely on trucks to move all of those materials in and beer (and spent grains) out. The real question is, how to make that problem-solving process more open, and leverage the problem-solving capacities of the community.

      I’m sincere in my hope that New Belgium can leverage their economic might to help ensure that decisions this important don’t all get made in an ivory (or asphalt) tower.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Quote the personal attack I made. I found Mr. Hammerdorfer’s comments to be more of a personal opinion, i.e. that NBB would really help Asheville grow. Considering his professional credentials. I think a statement about a company that is highly revered in his hometown being an obvious benefit to a community he has never been to was irresponsible. As an academic, he knows better than to make such an unstudied declaration.

    • Nate says:

      Actually, nowhere in either of his comments does he say that NB would be “an obvious benefit to [Asheville],” he completely focuses his statements on what he knows about Fort Collins and their role there. Oh, other than the part where he expresses sympathy for your cause, of course, and agrees that there are neighbors in Fort Collins who find it less than ideal.

      The reason your comments are being read as a personal attack is because you are creating that tone with your suspicion, your barrage of hostile questions, and your ridiculous assertion that someone can’t offer a personal opinion based on their own experience simply because of the job they hold. He didn’t strut in here waving his business credentials, *you* went and dug them up and then revealed them as if they somehow made his comments less valid. Since Mr. Hammerdorfer never actually made “such an unstudied declaration” maybe you can take the Inquisition down a notch or two?

  5. SuckItMcGee says:

    Rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble

  6. Jonathan Wainscott says:

    Finding fans of New Belgium in Fort Collins is like finding fans of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.

    I’d also like to ask what Carl Hammerdorfer (Director of the Colorado State University MS in Business Administration) has to say about the fact that Asheville is about 60% the size of Fort Collins, but has more CRAFT breweries than his hometown. What growth does he know about that the citizens of Asheville are so unaware of? Why is Asheville so successful as a town without New Belgium? How do Asheville and Fort Collins differ? How does the terrain affect industrial expansion in each city? How many times has Mr. Hammerdorfer been to Asheville? How does hometown pride affect the relative attitude toward hometown commerce? You know… as an academic in business administration…at Colorado State University… in Fort Collins?

    • Noah says:

      Jonathan, first of all, you asked some great questions in the post above about the difference between Asheville and Fort Collins, and how their differing layouts and terrains affect what sustainable development looks like in their respective situations.

      Furthermore, I think your alternative traffic proposal is a great piece of work deserving a much more receptive audience, and can imagine that you’re experiencing a lot of frustration around the cold reception that proposal seems to have gotten from the City, DOT, and Norfolk Southern, as well as the lack of support from New Belgium. And I’d love to hear your thoughts around how New Belgium can proactively make their relationships with their neighbors better now, before the concrete is poured and the plans finalized.

      However, from what I’ve seen, your personal attacks on Carl Hammerdorfer are way off base, and representative of a bigger problem I’ve seen across this thread. So I want to to try and respond to your post above as a means of addressing a larger trend I’ve seen throughout this discussion. With that in mind…

      I’m glad you pointed out who Carl is, but what I read of his background and the program he runs did NOTHING to make me devalue his perspective. Quite the opposite, in fact. The guy runs a nationally acclaimed masters program “designed to address the global challenges of poverty, environmental degradation and poor health” – through practicing good corporate citizenship! (http://www.news.colostate.edu/Release/839)

      When a guy like Carl he says that he’s impressed with a company’s social sustainability leadership… I’m going to perk up and ask for more info, instead of just attacking him personally.

      Along those lines, the amount of hubris and pettiness on this thread has been staggering.

      Asheville still has a long way to go before we can go trumpeting success from the mountaintops. While we have a thriving craft brewing industry in town, which is getting well-deserved national recognition, we also have persistent poverty, high unemployment/underemployment, and a totally unconscionable percentage of our population who don’t know where their next meal will come from. Basically, we’ve got a long way to go, and boastful pride won’t help us in that journey. (http://mannafoodbank.org/the-face-of-hunger/)

      So I for one am grateful when an employer like New Belgium comes to town, and agrees to pay living wages and revitalize poisoned land and proactively pushes our whole city to have better mass transit infrastructure.

      When most of the people in their hometown have nothing but good things to say about them, including a lot of amazing leaders in the field of sustainable/socially responsible business, and their own brewing community, I’m inclined to at least assume that they’ll be a good community member here.

      And while I understand that there have been some frustrations around community engagement thus far, that means to me that we need to continue to hold NBB up to the (very) high standards they’ve set for themselves in their own home community, instead of talking about how “we’ve been so successful as a town without them.” Moreover, we need to figure out how we can get them to help us use that $175M economic stimulus as a lever to move otherwise intractable bureaucracies of all kinds.

      In the spirit of constructive dialogue and community engagement…
      Jonathan, I’d love to hear from you and other Asheville community members about what your experience has been like, specifically, in working with New Belgium, and how they could make it better. And I’d also like to hear how we could ensure that this new relationship between NBB and its neighbors gets off on a positive footing, and what they (NBB) could do to ensure that. Thoughts?

      Oh, and if anyone from NBB is watching this thread, I’d love to hear your thoughts on these issues as well!

      • Kathy says:

        Please come to this Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/groups/126133030876219/ to learn “what your experience has been like, specifically, in working with New Belgium, and how they could make it better…” Thank you!

      • Jonathan Wainscott says:

        The thing is, I see comments like this and wonder why people believe what they do about New Belgium. How are they going to improve mass transit in Asheville? The problem with mass transit in Asheville is that there are no direct routes between any two points in this town…as demonstrated by… New Belgium having to drive trucks all over the town just to get in and out of this one spot they have chosen to put a huge factory on. They promote biking. Great! Love bikes, but how does willingly driving a hundred trucks a day down Main Street and past parks and schools support that? I have heard about New Belgium’s awesome community involvement and responsiveness to community concerns, but a whole neighborhood association was born out of the concern of their impact and all they have done in response to considerable concern from the community is attend a couple meetings and issue a couple dismissive statements. They also have a reputation for having highly effective marketing, so when I see praises from a 4 or five people in Fort Collins I question how that got on the radar.

        As for issues of sustainability, how does a company that uses over 100,000,000 gallons of water a year to make their product, not to mention the water used to support the 100,000 visitors to their facility (sinks and toilets) have such an unquestioned operation?

        New Belgium will employ 150 people. That’s an average of 107 a day. They will require 52 trucks to roll into West Asheville (not the RAD by the way, they aren’t even in the same zip code as the RAD), and all those trucks have to roll back out. That’s 104 truck trips for 107 employees, every day.

        When the real benefits are weighed against the real costs, this operation is way out of balance, and abstract things like “promoting mass transit” are meaningless. What happens when this behemoth factory is built and well, mass transit in Asheville still stinks? Are they going to remove a portion of their facility? “Sorry Asheville. Since no one is taking the bus after all we decided to remove 2 of our 70 foot stainless steel tanks”. What happens if New Belgium is bought by a bigger company that doesn’t share the same values they do? Asheville is accepting a permanent installation of a factory based on 1) not that many jobs 2)promises of being eco friendly which is not guaranteed to be permanent 3)coolness. And, none of the benefits that New Belgium is offering are dependent on this site.

        Sorry if my concerns are not assuaged by the fact that 4 Fort Collins brewers and guy from Colorado State University say they are all right.

    • Eric says:

      Carl saw the story on FB, saw the concern from Asheville citizens, and was offering his opinion. Why are you attacking him so?

      And yes, I’m sure it’s just like finding Biltmore fans in Asheville – except that they plan to pay a living wage, it isn’t a temple for opulence, and it won’t cost $60 a day to get in.

      Sustainable jobs, environmentally conscious, and a good cultural fit – New Belgium has sounded like a great opportunity from the start. As far as Asheville as a town being “so successful” – I know a lot of unemployed/underemployed folks who are eager for the chance to work with NB. It will bring more tourists directly into the RAD with money in their hands, more bodies into the beds of hotels, and more hungry bellies into restaurants.

      Will there be more traffic and some compromises? Of course. But the people I talk to in West Asheville seem to think it’s worth the trouble.

      In the meantime, let’s try and be respectful of folks from afar who are trying to offer their opinions about something they are much more qualified to know about than we are.

      • Emily says:

        I am curious as to the residents in West Asheville you have spoken with, because many have no idea about size of the operation nor about the number of trucks that are planned.

        Tell anyone who lives here that 60-100 trucks a day are planned to travel on Haywood Road, and if they see that as a “compromise”, then beers on me.

        • Eric says:

          I don’t live in West Asheville, but I work there, and what some folks on here see as “horrible increased traffic” some local business owners and residents are seeing as “more people in struggling local establishments.”

          Beers on you, I guess?

          Asheville residents always lament the lack of any “industry” other than hospitality and healthcare. Well, here’s a tailor-made, environmentally-responsibly company that pays a livable wage, and people are trying to scare them off. Maybe this is why we can’t have nice things?

          I’d love to hear what sort of real, established, job-creating company you would embrace in the place of a brewery.

  7. I don’t have a dog in this fight either. I just saw the story on FB and read it because NBB is a company and culture that I admire. I’d often wondered how the other brewers in the Fort felt about what has now become quite a behemoth in the craftbrew industry. When Lauren asked how community members feel about NBB, I answered from my perspective as a FoCo community member. There are, in fact, several folks in Buckingham who don’t like NBB’s size, traffic, aromas, etc. However, of the two families that I know personally in that small neighborhood, both are big NBB fans. One of them a friend and colleague and her hubbie, don’t even like beer but like NBB. They are considering a move to a larger house but are leaning towards staying in Buckingham because they love the neighborhood. I’ve offered to share their contact info with Jennifer if she wants to look deeper. It’s unfortunate that there are families and homes adjoining NBB’s new facility in Asheville. That has got to be disruptive and annoying. I can guarantee, however, that this company is not unsympathetic, uncaring, or of a mindset that puts business above people. They talk about their environmental sustainability with pride, but I’m honestly more impressed with their social sustainability leadership.

    I hope to visit Asheville someday and enjoy what I’ve heard is a lovely town.

  8. Eric says:

    I have no dog in this fight, so to speak, but I’m not sure that the absence of the stockyard will alleviate the “cow dung” smell…
    http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20121207/NEWS/312070032/Waste-spills-into-French-Broad?nclick_check=1

  9. Deshawn says:

    Let’s search for something to create as much controversy in our Community as we can!
    It might even make bloggers more famous.
    I’m assuming the guy who lives 100 feet from the site enjoys the smell of cow dung more than he does the thought of a renovated area that will help the entire city. And the last I heard by attending a community meeting new Belgium had decided to look for a separate distribution site away from West Asheville. And as for incentives, if Highland brewing wants to spend $175 million To add to the County’s taxbase I’m quite sure the city and county would provide them incentives. As the saying goes, you’re either moving forward or you’re going back. I hope we don’t go backwards The way the “lock the door I’m here” folks would like.

    • Keane says:

      “I’m assuming the guy who lives 100 feet from the site enjoys the smell of cow dung more than he does the thought of a renovated area that will help the entire city.”

      You’re assuming a lot Deshawn.
      1. I’m not a “guy”, I’m a woman.
      2. The stockyard is/was on the other end of Craven from my home, so no cow dung problems, but thanks.

      And before you go assuming, why don’t you do your research: http://www.ashvegas.com/new-belgium-in-asheville-citizen-proposal-challenges-haywood-road-delivery-route.
      The “guy” who designed this proposal that would be a win-win for the city, is my husband, Jonathan Wainscott. The city turned the plan down without any real investigation on their part. New Belgium has said nothing and is letting the city take the heat. We have volunteered our time meeting with New Belgium, Haywood Road business owners, RAD business owners, local brewers, environmental organizations, city planners, the list goes on.

      And in the mean time, we’ve been working day and night along with our neighbors to help the city come up with solutions so folks like you won’t have to suffer the consequences of some shortsighted planning on the city’s part. So, who’s trying to help the entire city? We are.

      Stay informed:
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/126133030876219/

  10. Noah says:

    I’ve gotta say, if I were New Belgium, I’d have chosen to build in the RAD as well, over going up or down-river and just that much further from the heart of downtown and West Asheville. I also think that all those extra happy employees and people biking through will add a LOT of new customers to the nearby businesses, galleries, restaurants, etc. in the RAD.

    As to traffic and transport, I have two thoughts:
    1) How can we encourage what NB has already begun promoting, in terms of bike lanes, public transport, and the like, to bring the extra people into the RAD without extra cars? and how can we spread the RAD up and downstream a bit and encourage some re-development and revitalization of other river properties up and down Riverside Drive/ Swannanoa River Road (i.e. on the easiest, flattest bike ride to and from NB/RAD)?

    2) How can we look to the train line just across the river as a way to bring in the raw materials NB needs, and perhaps just use trucks (or maybe even a barge? Radical!) to move the materials down to their brewery? I know Sierra Nevada will be getting raw materials like grain in by train… why not NB? That could considerably cut down on traffic.

    Finally, I think the analogy of them “plopping down their fat facility “, like they “just [don’t] understand personal space” is unfair. It seems to me like they asked around a lot, and gave a lot of time for comments and feedback and consideration before they came in. And they’re also redeveloping a pretty gnarly brownfield, which is no small thing (and is what a lot of the econ dev’t funds are there to help with.)

    So, from one Ashevillain to others, let’s try and figure out how to make this work as well as it can, and capitalize on the opportunity, instead of bemoaning the fact that there will be a big new presence in a place we all know and love.

    Oh, and this is a great comment thread in general – I’m so glad that there IS a forum for this kind of conversation.

    • Emily says:

      Sorry if it’s not “fair” – but here it is:

      West Asheville is the address of the Brewery, not RAD. It’s too big of project in too small of a space.

      There won’t be as many employees biking to work as they hope, this isn’t Fort Collins.

      West Asheville doesn’t want a bunch of trucks driving through Haywood Road all day long.

      West Asheville is going to staring at the delivery bay doors and steel tanks; while the offices of NBB have a view of the River and the RAD.

      Sometimes I feel like it DisneyBeerland or something. How about switching the words “Brewery” with “Rubberband Factory” – would it be the same situation here?

  11. Emily says:

    Comparing the two towns is not the issue. It’s simple logistics and topography. Fort Collins is flat and streets are wide open – no wonder everyone rides their bike to the office, I would too. Having a straight shot to I-25 is pretty nifty as well; I’m sure everything goes smoothly there.

    It also looks, like the Brewery was built on a piece of land and in a neighborhood that had yet to be developed at all.

    This is not the case in Asheville. If they had looked up the River just a little bit more while staying within walking and riding distance of downtown. This would help an area that really needed this type of rehabilitation and industry, and not squeezing in a location that simply cannot fit them in.

    It’s not that we don’t want New Belgium, just not where they are plopping down their fat facility as if it’s like the big rowdy guy everyone loves at the party, who just doesn’t understand personal space..

    And as a side note; the Tour de Fat sounds like a nightmare to me, we can barely handle Bele Chere. Again, it’s just about logistics. You’ll notice that no one is complaining about Sierra Nevada down in Mills River.

  12. Dabeed says:

    Any idea whether NBB will be taking the poisonous fluoride out of the city water before they use it in their brewing?

    Not only would that be the right thing to do to make their beer “healthier” (if there is such a thing as healthy beer), but it will send a message to the a-holes in the City who insist on dumping a toxic waste in our water. Setting such an example can lead to the total elimination of fluoride in the AVL water supply, which would make NBB a star in many Ashevillians’s eyes, and it would make Asheville an even healthier place to live and work.

  13. Cynthia says:

    To address the traffic issue: they promote the bicycle culture greatly. Although Tour De Fat is a celebration, it also raises funds for non-profits in the community. NBB has a unique culture that is spearheading the environmental preservations. I can assure they plan to implement positive plans that build up Asheville. They bring are an invaluable resource to Fort Collins. I am a community member.

  14. Keane says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I’d also like to hear from families who live in the Buckingham neighborhood of Fort Collins to get a true picture of what it’s like to live next to an industrial facility. A facility that hosts a 20,000 person “world’s largest bicycle parade and a great hoot/freak-show of a time” event each year. For full disclosure, NB’s Asheville Brewery is being built about 200 feet from my home.

    While I appreciate Carl and Lorraine’s enthusiastic endorsements for NB, I’ve also heard the phrase “You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who says anything bad about New Belgium” being tossed around a lot. Often the voices with the most power and privilege get heard, so yeah, it might be hard to find someone who will say something against a corporation, because they don’t want to be criticized for their views (kind of like when the Fort Collins folks jumped all over Lauren’s “evolved” comment). I didn’t interpret Lauren’s comment to mean that the people of Asheville are more enlightened than Fort Collins, but our tourism has long been evolving. Asheville has attracted visitors seeking natural beauty, rich Appalachian history, thriving music scene, arts community, outdoor living, eclectic culture and so on and so on. Asheville is and was a vibrant community long before it was marketed into “BEER CITY USA”.
    Check it out:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asheville,_North_Carolina

    Thanks for the article!

  15. Curious, you can certainly ask (I’m curious myself). Based on the number of Facebook likes on this article, I figure Facebook.

  16. Curious says:

    Thanks for the feedback. Just curious how Carl Hammerdoefer & Lorraine Caron happened to stumble upon this Ashevegas article.

  17. Lauren Boylston says:

    Good grief. I promise to never post here again.
    I hope it all turns out like people envision it.
    I really do.

  18. I’m another community member as well as a naturopathic doctor. Frankly, I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who says anything bad about New Belgium. They are likely the most sustainable business in our community (and as “unevolved” as we are, we know our sustainability). They give to almost any charity function that asks for a donation. They support the brewing scene, both homebrewers and professional brewers. If you had our community vote for the “best” overall business in FC, I’d bet big money they’d win. (Although Otter Box might come in a close second.) They treat their employees amazingly well, including offering new benefits almost every year, voted on by employees. One benefit that is close to my heart is that their employee health insurance has covered naturopathic care since 2011. This means more patients for me who don’t have to pay out of pocket in this unregulated state. They also hugely support the biking scene here. But hey, if you don’t believe us, come visit and find out for yourself.

  19. Lauren Boylston says:

    LOL. I always know better than to post anything on issues such as this…but can never seem to resist.
    I am thrilled for Carl and his community. However, my concern has to be for my community..that is East West Asheville, which will bear the burden of increased truck traffic, visitor traffic and other unsettling issues. I am not trying to be a nay sayer.

    I am trying to be a good citizen.
    It seems this is an unpopular position.
    Forgive my ignorance.
    I am a child of the 60′s.

    • Lauren, I’m also a West Ashevillean off of Haywood. I’m not just a blogger, I’m a person with a home in the neighborhood. I hope you’ll continue to post and to share your concern for our city and for West Asheville.

  20. roo says:

    I’m sure the New Belgium folks are good people. It may be that government incentives totaling pretty much what it cost to build Highland stuck in a few craws. Incentives may be good policy, standard procedure, etc., but they really can’t be called fair. Just my two cents.

  21. I’ll weigh in on how the community feels about NBB, Lauren, even though my response may be slightly primitive and not as evolved as you may be used to. NBB supports so many good causes here, opening their doors to artists, the university, community activists, environmental groups, etc., and they never ask for a dime. They put on the Tour de Fat that is the world’s largest bicycle parade and a great hoot/freak-show of a time. They have set the standard for sustainability in their industry and infected a lot of other businesses. And their employees are extremely engaged in everything that makes Fort Collins great.

    Jennifer, if you want to talk to a few community members about them, let me know. Two of my graduates (www.csugsse) live in the neighborhood right next to the brewery and would probably be happy to talk to you. You can reach me at hammerdorfer@gmail.com.

    Great article. It made me proud to have NBB as a neighbor and to have all of those other great breweries here in humble little fort collins.

  22. zen says:

    I appreciate your straight-forward telling of the story, Jennifer. News nowadays is so easily “what cage can we rattle” or “Here’s a heart-warming story” that both become drummed up and meaningless. I am thankful for the line “We didn’t set out to write a puff piece. But sometimes, nobody has anything bad to say” because it’s honest and lets the reader know you’re not choosing the “good stuff” but letting the story tell itself and that just happens to be mostly positive. Hooray for news well done!

  23. Tamara Puffer says:

    Thanks for talking with them. I wonder if it is possible to talk to folks in the neighborhood as well?

  24. Lauren Boylston says:

    I think I would be more impressed if you had spoken to people in the community who are not involved in the beer business.
    Neighborhoods groups and such. People who don’t “get” anything from NBB.
    Plus, I think Asheville is much more evolved as a community than Fort Collins was/is. Asheville is already a destination for people…with or without NBB.
    Just sayin’.

    • Lauren, an article on community opinion of NBB might be forthcoming, especially if someone has good ideas on how to randomly contact people who live in the neighborhood (not being smart). I think that’s a great idea I plan to explore.

      This was just meant to be an informal conversation with the brewing community. How NBB treats its local brewing community matters to Beer City USA.

      I’m not out to impress anyone, just tell the story.

      - Jennifer

    • jabob says:

      Wow. I think you are on to something. Asheville is highly evolved, and so unbelievably advanced, that we can’t evolve any further. As a result, we have actually begun to DEvolve. A select few have actually devolved so fast, their heads are now stuck up their butts, most likely so they can more easily smell their own farts. Why is this the logical progression, well the evidence is clear, those who have devolved quickly seem to think they are better than everyone else when in fact they are not, much in the same way they think their farts actually smell good.

    • lisa says:

      Lauren, I’m curious what you mean when you suggest that your community is more evolved than mine. Fort Collins has long been a flourishing community. Many magazines have suggested that it is one of the best places to live in the US. We have attracted many other large companies including Hewlett Packard, Waterpik, and Otterbox, making it a city where jobs abound.
      We’ve recently opened our new 16,000 square foot Museum of Discovery. We have a strong and constantly growing bicycle culture, with bike lanes on almost every street, and our city is contiuosly making new efforts to increase our sustainability including the FortZED project, which aims to eventually take our university area and Old Town completely off the grid energy-wise.
      Colorado State University offers many exciting graduate programs that focus on Natural Resource Management and we boast one of the best Veterinary Hospitals in the world, with an oncology department that is making amazing advancements in treating cancer in animals.
      Our food scene rivals that of many larger cities and we have a burgeoning theatre community as well.
      In addition to all of this, we are the gateway to the Rocky Mountains, and a tourist attraction in our own right for rafting, hiking, camping, rock climbing, etc.
      Perhaps we still have growing to do, but what community doesn’t. I urge you to come visit us here and find out for yourself how wonderful Fort Collins is. And please stop in as New Belgium, where I’d be happy to pour you a beer!

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