Long home to a coterie of boutique breweries, Asheville is starting to attract bigger craft-beer brands that see their own (idealized) corporate image in the city's low-key outdoorsy culture.
A sizable craft brewery in search of a new home needs a couple of non-negotiable resources: space to build the kind of facility that can produce tens of thousands of barrels of beer a year, plus access to railways and roads for quickly shipping the stuff to discerning customers who expect to drink it while it’s fresh. Also, water. Water is a very big deal in the brewing business. Asheville, North Carolina, has fostered one of the fastest growing beer scenes on the East Coast since the mid-1990s in part thanks to the 20,000-acre protected watershed outside of town in the Great Smoky Mountains.