After expressing interest in an Albemarle County location last fall, Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery has announced that its first expansion into the East Coast will take place in the Star City, instead.
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced March 22 that the brewery will invest $85 million in its Roanoke location, creating 108 new jobs.
“This is another high-profile win that shines a spotlight on the commonwealth and reinforces that we are a leading state in the craft beer industry,” McAuliffe said.
Deschutes was founded as a brew pub on the banks of the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon, in 1988. Although it’s still family and employee owned, the brewery now ships beers to more than 28 states and is known for brews including the Fresh Squeezed IPA, Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale.
Michael LaLonde, president of Deschutes, said the company is excited to be heading to Roanoke. “We love the region and everyone we’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with during this process has been incredible,” he said. “We have absolutely been blown away with how the community rallied around bringing us here and has given us such a warm welcome.”
“The fact that the CEO of Deschutes specifically used the term ‘welcoming’ implies that Roanoke was welcoming and other spots were less welcoming,” Timothy Hulbert, president of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, says. “We would be one of those other spots.”
In September, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted to approve zoning 35 acres plus 16 acres of green space for the brewery, instead of the 85 acres with 138 for a park and green area that were originally proposed.
If the brewery had come to Albemarle, Hulbert says an extra $800,000 per year would have been initially generated by property tax, and with incentives, eventually $1 million per year. He calls it “a million dollars a year that Albemarle County doesn’t have for schools or other projects.”
“Lesson learned?” Hulbert signed an e-mail after Deschutes announced its Roanoke location. “Hope so.”