RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia will become home to Deschutes Brewery's East Coast operations after beating out North and South Carolina for the coveted facility that's expected to create more than 100 new jobs, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Tuesday.
Oregon-based Deschutes will invest $85 million to build a facility in Roanoke, joining nearly 150 other craft breweries in the state, McAuliffe said.
"Virginia is for beer lovers, folks," McAuliffe said during an event in the city, where state and company officials toasted with bottles of Deschutes beer.
Virginia and Roanoke officials have been working for months to woo Deschutes, one of the top 10 craft breweries in the country, which also considered Asheville, North Carolina, as well as Greenville and Charleston, South Carolina for the facility.
McAuliffe met with Deschutes executives in Oregon last fall and company officials recently visited Richmond, where they enjoyed Deschutes beer in the Executive Mansion kegerator before telling the governor that Virginia won the bid, said Todd Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.
The announcement is a big win for Roanoke, which lost out to the Asheville area for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.'s East Coast brewery in 2012. Deschutes was seventh among craft brewing companies in beer sales volume in 2014, according to the Brewers Association, a Colorado-based trade group.
Company officials praised Roanoke residents for being so engaged in the effort to bring the company to the area by posting on Twitter and Facebook with #Deschutes2Rke.
"As we look to the next chapter for Deschutes Brewery, we're very pleased to be in a place that values what we value: people," said company founder Gary Fish. "We can make beer anywhere; however, we will make beer in our home, here."
Craft breweries have exploded in Virginia in recent years, with 40 of the state's nearly 150 craft breweries gaining licenses in 2015, according to Brett Vassey, president of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild. Craft beer sales in Virginia grew by nearly 19 percent last year, Haymore said.
The announcement comes less than two years after California-based Stone Brewing Co. — another top 10 craft brewing company — revealed plans to build its East Coast brewery and distribution center in Richmond. The tasting room at Stone Brewing's Richmond location has already opened and production is expected to begin in the coming months.
Nationwide, there were 4,225 craft breweries in 2015 — an increase of 18 percent over the previous year, according to the Brewers Association. The group defines craft breweries as having an annual production value of 6 million barrels or less, among other things.
Deschutes is getting a $3 million state grant for the project and will be eligible for additional state aid, officials said.
Follow Alanna Durkin Richer on Twitter at twitter.com/aedurkinricher. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/alanna-durkin-richer.