Deschutes Brewery, the tenth largest craft brewery in the U.S., has shelved its plans to build a new brewery in Roanoke, Virginia.
Three years ago the family and employee owned company said that “in our search for an East Coast location, we’re thrilled to be joining Roanoke’s emergent brewing community.” The brewery planned to create a little over 100 new jobs and to produce approximately 150,000 barrels to start, with a design to increase capacity as needed.
Deschutes and the city of Roanoke rescinded an agreement that would have given the privately held brewer land for its expansion for free and provided USD 4.7 million in other state and local incentives. According to the initial scheme ground breaking was scheduled in 2019 and production start in 2021.
Last October, the brewery already said: “We continue to watch trends in the craft beer market for the right time to build a facility that is high quality and economically sustainable,” he said in a written statement. “We don’t foresee breaking ground in 2019 as originally planned, but we will meet a commitment next spring to let the city of Roanoke know our updated plans.”
In December, Deschutes announced to lay off 10 percent of its workforce (inside.beer, 13.12.2018) because business has not met expectations over the past two years.
Now, the company definitely decided to delay construction of the new plant for an indefinite period.In a letter dated March 28, shortly ahead of a March 31 deadline, Deschutes CEO Michael LaLonde sent an update to the city of Roanoke, saying: “Nobody is more disappointed than us that we’re not going to meet the original timeline,” citing a decline in the craft beer market as the reason.
According to the agreement, the city is now allowed to buy the land back for the full price Deschutes paid for it.“I am heartened that they remain committed to Roanoke currently through support of local events and their tasting room,” Roanoke City Manager Bob Cowell said in a statement. “The City is not interested in purchasing the property back at this time,” he confirmed.