Around the Region: Sierra Nevada brewery coming to Henderson Cty.

Published 5:01 pm Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Asheville area’s reputation as a leading area for craft breweries got a big boost this week. Sierra Nevada announced it selected a site in Mills River, near the Asheville Regional Airport, for a new brewing facility that will serve the East Coast. The brewery, which will be built in the 90-acre Ferncliff Industrial Park at the northern end of Henderson County, is expected to create jobs and draw more tourists to the area.
Sierra Nevada says it’s planning a production facility, along with an onsite restaurant, tasting room and possibly an entertainment venue. The brewing company says it will create 95 full-time jobs, along with 80 part-time jobs, and invest $107.5 million in the brewery over the next five years.
The independent, family-owned brewing company says the brewery also will approximately 60 construction jobs during the two-year building process. The company says it plans to begin work later this year on the plant.
Buncombe County is home to 10 craft breweries and others are scattered across Western North Carolina. North Carolina has a total of 28 craft breweries, more than any other southern state, and nearly two dozen brewpubs.
Sierra Nevada, founded in 1980, is the sixth largest craft brewer in the country, employing more than 500 people. The company says it plans to offer an average wage of $41,526 plus benefits for the new full-time jobs in Henderson County, well above the current county average of $32,240. Sierra Nevada will receive a $1.025 million grant from the One North Carolina Fund if it meets employment and investment targets.
– source: and www.citizen 1/25/12
*** announced this week its plans to employ nearly 400 people at a new fulfillment center that will begin operations in Spartanburg County this fall. The company plans to invest $50 million in the facility, its second fulfillment center in South Carolina. Amazon opened a center last year in Lexington County, S.C.
“South Carolina has been a great home to us and we’re excited to create hundreds of additional jobs in the state,” said Dave Clark, vice president of Amazon Global Customer Fulfillment.
The new, one-million-square-foot center in Spartanburg County will be on a 200-plus-acre industrial park near John Dodd Road and I-26. The online retailer says it plans to begin hiring later this year at the Spartanburg Center, which is expected to distribute larger items, such as kayaks and lawn mowers.
Spartanburg County already approved economic incentives for the project, along with a 6 percent fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement for 30 years.
–,, 1/23/12
TS Designs in Burlington recently harvested the first certified organic cotton crop in North Carolina. TS Designs President Eric Henry said the cotton will be used for shirts produced by the design company. He said his company formed Cotton of the Carolinas to grow organic cotton, support local jobs and “go from dirt to shirt all in North Carolina.”
TS Designs previously obtained organic yarn for its organic cotton T-shirts from overseas. Now it comes from 65 acres at Hickory Meadows Organics and Parrish Enterprises farms in eastern North Carolina.
“Up to this crop, there has been no organic cotton grown in North Carolina,” said Henry. “This is something that everybody said couldn’t be done.”
Approximately 25,000 pounds of organic cotton were produced at the farms this year, and both Hickory Meadows Organics and Parrish Enterprises have committed to growing the organic cotton again next year, possibly on more acreage. Henry says his company hopes to create more organic cotton products, such as socks and denim.
“Ultimately, what we want to do is keep most of the cotton in North Carolina,” he said. “It’s going to have a tremendous positive impact on jobs.”
– source: Burlington Times-News, Business Wire, 12/30/11
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District has the highest population of homeless kids in the state, according to figures presented recently by the district. The district reported it has more than 4,700 students who lack adequate housing, a big jump from 2008 when it had about 3,000.
Kay Carreria of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said the district has students who live in cars, hotel rooms or on the streets.
“Thank goodness for our emergency shelters, but they’re already overcrowded,” said Carreria. “The ones who have been living in cars and out in the woods are now moving into the shelters and there’s not even room there.”
– source:, Charlotte City Buzz Examiner, 12/27/11
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center was awarded $750,000 in Multidisciplinary Research Grants (MRG) for research relating to prostate cancer.
The money will go to scientists at North Carolina State University, East Carolina University and the University of North Carolina Wilmington to work on improved identification of prostate cancer and improved drug therapies. The $250,000 MRGs support development of preliminary data needed for federal grant applications.
The biotechnology center is a private, non-profit corporation supported by the N.C. General Assembly. The center was created to support biotechnology research, business, education and strategic policy in North Carolina.
– source:, 1/4/12
North Carolina’s first modern-day toll road began collecting tolls this month. Drivers were able to try the new Triangle Expressway toll-free since it opened on Dec. 8. However, the N.C. Turnpike Authority began collecting tolls electronically this month.
The six-lane TriEx, a 3.7-mile extension of the Durham Freeway from I-40 to the 540 Outer Loop, was used by about 10,000 cars and trucks a day during the toll-free period. Cars with a N.C. Quick Pass are charged a base toll of 50 cents per trip on the expressway. The N.C. Turnpike Authority says it has already sold about 10,000 passes for the TriEx.
Owners of cars that do not have the N.C. Quick Pass will be charged 77 cents per trip and sent a monthly invoice in the mail. The drivers’ addresses are obtained through photos of license plates.
Work has begun to extend the Triangle Expressway through Wake County to Holly Springs. The state also plans to begin toll collection later this year on an existing section of 540 and a new section of 540 between N.C. 55 south and U.S. 64.

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