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San Diego is considered the epicenter for American craft beer, so it makes sense the city is also home to the country’s leading yeast production company. White Labs has experienced phenomenal growth in tandem with the beer industry, servicing accounts across the nation via its Miramar headquarters and outposts in Davis, California and Boulder, Colorado. Multiple locations have allowed them to keep up with demand, but today, CEO and founder Chris White announced his company is going a step further to ensure freshness of yeast and expedited delivery of White Labs products by opening an East Coast facility in Asheville, North Carolina.
The combination yeast production, analytical lab, administrative base, and public tasting room will be similar to White Labs’ local headquarters, and will be the East Coast’s first facility of its type for yeast propagation and fermentation technology. It will be installed in a two-story, 25,000 square foot building at 172 South Charlotte Street that White Labs will expand to 32,000 square feet before it opens in late 2015. It’s a major move, but it’s not the last. White reports that this is part of a “global expansion plan” that will be rolled out over the next several years. Today, the East Coast. Tomorrow... who knows?
Asheville could be called the San Diego of the East Coast, not just because of its southerly geographic positioning, but because it is home to more than 20 brewing companies and is frequently mentioned in the same breath as powerhouse brewing communities such as Portland, Oregon; Grand Rapids, Michigan; numerous cities in Colorado; and, of course, San Diego. Some of the country’s largest breweries — Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery — have opened additional facilities in and around Asheville (while locals Stone Brewing Co. and Green Flash Brewing Company have instead opted for Richmond and Virginia Beach, Virginia, respectively). This helped White Labs decide on Asheville as the site of their home on the other coast.
White Labs reports that roughly 40% of its customer base is located in the Eastern U.S. This move will allow the company to better serve those patrons. Meanwhile, locals and visitors to Asheville will be able to take in the unique tasting experiences provided by its tasting bar, which offers identical beers made vastly different via the incorporation of different yeast strains. Currently, that type of sampling is available at White Labs’ San Diego tasting room and nowhere else in the world, so White Labs’ selection of Asheville is quite a boon in more ways than one.