It’s official. New Belgium Brewing will finally open the doors to its Asheville, N.C. brewing facility next February.
Brewing in Asheville will commence “later this fall,” and tours of the facility will begin in March, the company said on its website. The opening of a second production brewery also coincides with the company’s 25th anniversary, a celebration for which is scheduled on August 27.
“As we finalize construction and start brewing, we’ll share out more exact opening dates for Spring 2016, and let you know how to get tickets to the celebrations,” the company wrote on its blog.
When New Belgium first announced its intent to build in North Carolina, in April 2012, it originally anticipated bringing a 200-barrel brewhouse online by early 2015. But that timeline was adjusted by eight months midway through 2013 after the company installed additional capacity at its Fort Collins, Colo. headquarters.
“After we put that 70,000 barrels of additional capacity in at the Fort Collins brewery, we thought that we might be able complete the construction in Asheville without turning everybody’s hair gray,” spokesman Bryan Simpson said at the time.
At the time, many industry observers speculated that it was slower sales, not new capacity, that caused New Belgium to push back its opening date.
“We want to come screaming into the need for those barrels, rather than have so much overlap for extra capacity,” brewery co-founder Kim Jordan said during an hour-long phone conversation in 2013. “Having that eight month window allows us to fully utilize our capacity in Fort Collins.”
New Belgium would eventually break ground on the $175 million, 133,000 sq. ft. brewery and tasting room on May 1, 2014. The facility occupies about 18 acres along the French Broad River, a brownfield site that required extensive cleanup before the company could begin building.
“While brownfield remediation isn’t exactly sexy work, it was important to our employee owners to improve a site from an environmental perspective,” Jay Richardson, New Belgium’s general manager in Asheville said in 2014.
Earlier this year, New Belgium completed construction on its Asheville distribution center, a 141,000 sq. ft. warehouse built on 13 acres of land. The space, which will serve as the company’s hub for east coast distribution, includes 88,000 sq. ft. of refrigerated space, 9,000 sq. ft. of outdoor covered storage and 44,000 sq. ft. of storage for raw materials and offices.