North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2013

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Asheville was named Beer City USA for the fourth consecutive time in 2012. The region is home to more than 15 brew pubs and microbreweries, including Highland Brewing Co., above. E nvironmental sustainability and conservation are central to Sierra Nevada. In 2005, it became the frst U.S. brewery to install hydrogen-fuel cells. A high-tech collection system captures carbon dioxide emitted during fermentation for recycling in sanitation and pressurization. The Chico campus gets nearly 20% of its electric power from the more than 10,000 solar panels on the property. Compost gathered from spent hops and grains fertilizes nearby hop felds and the restaurant garden. These and a host of other green programs are managed by Sierra Nevada���s sustainability department. The company keeps its beer cold as it is distributed to wholesalers and retailers. ���We prefer it to be refrigerated,��� Manley says. ���It stays fresher that way.��� But as Sierra Nevada���s market share east of the Rockies grew ��� it is especially popular in the Northeast ��� it became diffcult for the Chico production site to meet coast-tocoast demand. Transporting cold beer across the country would burn large amounts of fuel in trucks and refrigerated units and leave a larger carbon footprint 30 North Carolina Economic Development Guide than the company wants. An East Coast production site would strengthen its commitment to the environment while ensuring customers receive the freshest beer. ���There was a lengthy supply-chain analysis before any site was considered,��� says Don Schjeldahl, a veteran site-selection consultant hired by Sierra Nevada to help in the search. He joined executives in poring over voluminous internal data about the company, its markets and growth patterns. Sierra Nevada reviewed about 200 possible locations, including several in North Carolina. ���We had a list of quantifable things we wanted,��� Manley says. ���But we had a qualitative list as well, and it was longer. People that work for us are casual types, but they���re serious about what they do.��� In addition to infrastructure needs such as highway and rail access, the company wanted to be in a community that shared its culture and vibe, including a music scene and outdoor recreation, which would allow it to attract and retain its ideal workforce. Schjeldahl, then director of renewable-energy strategies at Clevelandbased Austin Consulting, initiated the

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