Craft beer manufacturing is one of the fastest growing sectors in the local economy and a target industry of the Economic Development Coalition’s (EDC) Asheville 5×5 Plan.
With the goal of expanding resources for local brewers, and in turn boosting the local economy, Asheville Chamber leaders from the EDC, Clark Duncan and April Brown, recently traveled to Nashville for the annual Craft Brewers Conference, where they learned about current industry trends, gained exposure to future practices, and connected with key supply-chain players.
“Asheville brewers have a national reputation for excellence, innovation and leadership in the industry,” said Clark Duncan, the Asheville Chamber’s VP of Economic Development. “The conference is the largest gathering of craft brewing industry leaders in the world – and the best place to introduce suppliers in the industry to the advantages of doing business in Asheville.”
In its 35th year, the Craft Brewers Conference has a tradition of providing concentrated brewing education and idea sharing. Nearly 15,000 industry members attended this year’s event, which featured 726 exhibitors and 200+ speakers across educational tracks such as brewery operations, export development, government affairs, packaging, and ingredients. Local breweries Hi-Wire and Asheville Brewing were also honored with awards in the 2018 World Beer Cup.
“We’re always eager to meet innovators in the industry that could potentially manufacture in Asheville,” said Clark. “By elevating the supply chain for Asheville breweries, we stabilize their future.”
To connect with industry leaders, the EDC collaborated with Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) and Asheville Chamber member White Labs, a world leader in fermentation sciences for the brewing and wine making industries. Through these partnerships, the EDC was able to co-host a hospitality suite and an after-hours event that created great visibility and networking opportunities.
“We had several promising meetings with innovative manufacturers of specialty machinery and brewing equipment that are considering expansion in the South,” said Clark. “The strength and legacy of manufacturing in Asheville makes us a natural fit.”