by: Scott Wickersham Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Charlotte may be in the running as a site for the East Coast facility of the 10th largest craft brewery in the United States.
Charlotte Regional Partnership said it is assisting Escondido, Calif.-based Stone Brewing Company with an analysis of the area.
A spokesman for Charlotte Regional Partnership said it is an “extremely competitive project” with hundreds of economic development organizations on the East Coast submitting proposals.
The company wants a site with zoning that would allow brewing, packaging and distribution and could also accommodate a major hospitality component – an outdoor garden, restaurants, kitchen and retail store.
Capital expenditures for the initial phase of the project are expected to exceed $20 million. Production is projected to be more than 120,000 barrels in the first phase and possible scale to nearly 500,000. Revenue from the facility is projected to exceed $100 million by the fourth year of operation and continue to grow over time, according to a spokesman from Charlotte Regional Partnership.
Local brewers said it would be a good thing for the craft beer scene but there is something the state can do to make the region more appealing to all breweries.
Workers at NoDa Brewing Company are working on a fresh batch of pale ale and said Charlotte's craft beer scene is thriving.
“North Carolina has a lot of laws right now that encourage breweries to move to the area,” said Todd Ford, owner of NoDa Brewing Company.
Ford has been to the Stone Brewing Company, calling it an adult wonderland and that is the idea for their new facility.
“It’s a go-to place for tourists,” said Sabrina LoPiccolo with Stone Brewing Company. “We have an operating brewery. We give tours, and have a restaurant.”
But Ryan Self with Olde Mecklenburg Brewery said one thing is going against Charlotte.
“North Carolina breweries pay among the five highest taxes on beer in the country. California and Colorado are in the bottom five,” Self said.
The state said its bid could involve economic incentives for Stone Brewing Company to sweeten the deal.
Stone Brewing Company wants to hire more than 340 people and pay at least $15-$48 an hour.
The deadline for bids from cities was last weekend and the company hopes to pick a location and start building later this year.
For more information about bringing the facility to Charlotte, click on this Facebook page.