Beer, Bikes & Jobs
Congrats to our regional neighbor Asheville for winning the race for the new New Belgium brewery. Beating out Portland, San Diego and other primo markets, Asheville is living up to its reputation as Beer City USA (3 consecutive wins in a national craft beer fan poll…and Sierra Nevada brewery already announced plans to build a new brewery in Asheville). New Belgium brings jobs that pay 43% more than the regional average, a huge investment in the local economy, and the redevelopment of an existing brownfield site (a former livestock market in the River Arts District).
In their announcement, New Belgium said their decision was fueled by the city’s sustainability, bike paths and greenways as much as the strong microbrew scene. This shows just how important bike/ped friendly policy and transportation systems can be…they draw high paying jobs and economic development and create competitive advantage.
As we continue to argue over bike lanes and access, and as the College of Charleston publishes an overly restrictive bike policy (a major missed opportunity for the College), let’s keep Asheville’s approach in mind and remember the benefits that come with better biking. It’s not just health, environment, less congestion, more fun…it’s also about the “green.”