Local cities 'hopping' in on beer business - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Local cities 'hopping' in on beer business

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LINCOLNTON, NC (WBTV) -

Lincolnton is the latest North Carolina city to hop into the business of beer. Last week, commissioners approved a plan that will allow a local business owner to covert an old mill into a brewery. 

"In chamber work you learn to copy success," Chamber of Commerce President Ken Kindley said. "We look at it as a manufacturing facility and it will also help us diversify our industrial base and provide a new tax base and jobs." 

The Brewery will not offer on-premise beer sales. 

Lincolnton is not the only small town exploring the world of microbrews. 

Michael Croft owns the Whiskey Mill Bar & Grill in Bessemer City. He has been operating the business as a brewpub for six months now. 

"The brew system we have is a smaller pilot system just to get us started and test the water and see how well it's going," Croft said. 

His brewpub is getting support from more than just beer drinkers. Bessemer City Assistant City Manager Kevin Krouse tells WBTV the brewpub is drawing people into the downtown area.

"It's awesome, because I think there are 70 breweries in North Carolina, which is a growing trend, but to have one of those 70 in our backyard is pretty nice. When you do a Google search, Bessemer City is going to show up for craft brew. It is such a big industry now people are traveling hours to go try these craft brews and check out what is new on tap," Krouse said. 

The microbrew trend is not unique to North Carolina. It's been sweeping the county. 

According to the Brewers Association, craft brewers provide an estimated 108,440 jobs in the U.S. It also generated $10.2 billion in retail sales in 2012.

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