Stone Brewing of Escondido, Calif., made it known that it was looking to expand operations somewhere east of the Mississippi, cities and investors started scurrying to get in line – the type of scurrying you’d see in a Jane Austen novel when a foreign dignitary comes to the ball, looking for a mate. (To see the actual RFP, head to the embedded document at the bottom of the article.)
North Carolina seems the most obvious suitor, as it has been the expansion location of choice for several growing west coast breweries. But the most inventive entry in the mix might be the Blount Partnership located immediately south of Greater Knoxville, Tenn., where community leaders are intent on bringing a major craft brewery brand to the area’s newest LEED-certified commercial development, Pellissippi Place.
To cut through the clutter of RFP responses from chambers of commerce and economic development boards throughout the East (due March 15), the Blount Partnership chose an unconventional approach – fueled by a level of creativity in keeping with Stone Brewing’s notoriously assertive branding and social media voice.
The Partnership released two songs alongside a social media and local news coverage push, aimed at capturing Stone’s attention, “There’s a Stone in East Tennessee,” and “People of Stone,” with the former featuring such lyrics as “Well there’s a stone in East Tennessee / …you can keep your miller and your bud / ’Cause I’ve found a Stone.”
The songs were written by local business development director at Knoxville-based Designsensory, Matt Honkenon, who is heavily involved in the Blount Partnership’s marketing efforts. For Blount Partnership officials, the key is getting Stone and other craft brewers to physically visit Greater Knoxville and see what Blount County’s Pellissippi Place commercial / mixed-use development has to offer as a future home.
“If we can get them here, that’s more than half the battle,” said Blount Partnership CEO Bryan Daniels. “Our region’s full range of water, energy, transportation, human resources and more – coupled with culture and quality of life – speak directly to what craft brewers everywhere want and need to grow their businesses successfully and that’s obvious to any company that sees this region firsthand.”
Will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. At Cleveland-based CBB, we are selfishly crossing our fingers for some interest in our humble state. As for the RFP, here are the pertinent details from the document:
In 2014 Stone Brewing Co. intends to identify the site for and begin work on our new Eastern U.S. facility. The ideal location will be East of the Mississippi and allow for us to easily be served by our suppliers and for us to easily serve our customers and fans throughout the Eastern half of the US.
Our operations facility will feature a full-production brewery, packaging, distribution and administrative support operations, which will produce beer to be distributed East of the Mississippi, as well as for export.
Our Stone World Bistro & Gardens, retail and potential other operations will follow.
The entire operation will be staffed with local employees, and we strive to source all materials locally. We seek to establish local business relationships with all necessary partners to initiate and conduct business in the selected location, and with relevant nearby universities to engage in talent and industry development, student internships and potential lab/research initiatives, as we do in San Diego.
Capital expenditures are projected to well exceed $20,000,000 for the initial phase of the business plan.
Production is projected to exceed 120,000 barrels in the first phase and eventually scale to nearly 500,000. Payroll will grow in number to the low to mid-hundreds with a balanced mix of exempt and non-exempt employees as the operations expand. Revenue projected from the facility will exceed $100M in year four and grow over time into hundreds of millions annually. Of course, this excludes the broader economic impact of business partners (including university students, agriculture, heavy equipment, controls/automation, software, IT, logistics and other materials) and patronage of our Stone World Bistro & Gardens locations and stores.
Our selection of a location will be based upon a number of factors, including completeness of responses, advantageous operational expenses (e.g., labor, utilities, logistics, etc.), development challenges, availability/timing, unique attributes (e.g., redeveloped or historic properties, sustainable sites), creativity as well as a significant weighting on incentive/development packages available.
And the full document for your perusal. Gentlemen to the drawing room.