Stone Brewing cuts Greensboro as option


Greensboro is out of the running for Stone Brewing’s East Coast facility, Mayor Nancy Vaughan said this morning.

Stone Brewing, the 10th largest craft beer company in the nation, has decided that locations in Ohio and Virginia are more centrally located for distribution east of the Mississippi, eliminating options in North and South Carolina.

Greensboro made it to one of the final rounds, beating out a number of other cities. Officials from Stone Brewing even visited the city a while ago, and were seen out drinking at the Lindley Park Filling Station with some of the guys from Natty Greene’s.

In an email this morning to those involved in recruitment efforts, Greensboro Partnership Economic Development President Dan Lynch shared the bad news.

“The metric that prevented Greensboro (and South Carolina) from continuing on in the process was related to logistics cost (miles to market),” he wrote. “Most of the product that Stone will manufacture in this new facility will be transported to the northeast/upper mid-west therefore the two finalists states are Ohio and Virginia.

It isn’t all bad news though, as Lynch wrote.

“They were very complimentary of our proposal – in their words one of the best they received and during the client visit Greensboro did an outstanding job of putting together a seamless community-wide presentation, including: community overview, regulatory issues, workforce, incentives and available sites,” he continued. “The social component (reception and dinner) of their visit was one of the best they experienced… Again in their words, this will not be their last expansion and at some point will look to expand further south. Nancy [Vaughan] they were also highly complementary of you and your involvement in the process.”

Vaughan said she is disappointed by the news but added that it appears Stone Brewing is more focused on the Midwest and Northeast with the expansion and is hopeful that Greensboro could land a facility in the future.

“I think that clearly keeps us in the running when the decide to expand to the Southeast,” she said.

Action Greensboro Director Cecelia Thompson, who was part of the process to land Stone Brewing, also sees the silver lining.

“I think it’s certainly disappointing after the amount of team spirit that we had,” Thompson said. “What we know is that we were in the game and that’s what matters. We have to continue thinking really creatively about how we collaborate and put teams together. while i think it’s disappointing today, now we have a strong team in place going forward and that bodes well for future economic development projects.”

The attempt to lure Stone Brewing to Greensboro is one of two major economic development projects involving a similar team of city leaders this year. The other — the bid to win the three-year deal for the National Folk Festival —was successful.

The Stone process was much more open than typical economic development projects due to the way Stone Brewing presented their interest in expanding. That allowed residents to get involved, rallying around the hope and belief that Greensboro could be successful.

Thompson said that broad support and the city’s growing craft beer industry is encouraging, adding that it helps illuminate a way forward.

“It resonates that the community is really excited about craft brewing and we have a really strong community around it here,” Thompson said, mentioning Natty Greene’s, Red Oak, Pig Pounder, Gibb’s Hundred and hopefully more in the near future. “What we’re doing now is thinking about how we can advocate for local craft brew and what we can do on a state level to make things more business friendly for brewers.”