California-based Sierra Nevada Brewing scouts sites in North Carolina, Virginia for East Coast brewery with production capacity of 300,000 barrels/year; sales of craft beer rose 11% by volume in 2010, Brewers Association says

LOS ANGELES , December 30, 2011 () – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. spokesman Bill Manley says the company has been scouting potential locations for an East Coast brewery, and North Carolina and Virginia are among possible sites, the Winston-Salem Journal reported on Dec. 30.

Sierra Nevada currently operates one brewery in Chico, California. Manley says the brewery produces approximately 850,000 barrels of beer annually, but will reach capacity in the next few years. The proposed East Coast brewery would have an estimated capacity of 300,000 barrels annually.

Manley stated that Sierra Nevada is considering 50-acre sites in close proximity to railroads. The proposed East Coast brewery, including a shop and restaurant, has the potential to employ 100 to 125 people.

Sierra Nevada claims less than 1% of the U.S. beer market, but craft breweries around the country have been increasing in popularity. According to the Brewers Association, craft beer sales by volume increased 11% in 2010 compared to 7.2% in 2009; craft beer sales by dollars grew 12% in 2010 compared to 10.3% in 2009.

According to Manley, Sierra Nevada may make a decision regarding the East Coast brewery in early 2012.

The primary source of this article is the Winston-Salem Journal, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Dec. 30, 2011.

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