If you’re east of the Mississippi and craving a fresh beer from the other side of the country, no need to hop on a plane. Instead, the breweries are coming to you.
Colorado’s Oskar Blues Brewery started the great craft beer migration a few years ago, when it delighted fans by establishing a second location in Brevard, N.C., a small mountain town.
Since then, the California-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Lagunitas Brewing Company have followed suit. Sierra Nevada opened a sprawling brewery, tap room and restaurant in Mills River, N.C., while Lagunitas set up shop in Chicago. New Belgium Brewing has opened a production facility and tasting room in Asheville, N.C., and later this year will bring a flashy satellite site from San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing to Virginia Beach, Va. And Oskar Blues is not slowing down, with plans to open a third location this summer, staking the middle ground — Austin, Tex. (Atwater Brewery in Detroit with Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks also recently announced plans to open in Austin.)
At Sierra Nevada’s spot flanking the Blue Ridge Mountains, visitors can dine at the 400-seat restaurant and catch a show in the amphitheater.
The new Oskar Blues spot, while in a booming region, “stays true to our culture — amazing food and music in a very active outdoor city,” said Chad Melis, the marketing director.
And the migration continues. This spring, Oregon’s largest brewery, Deschutes, announced its planned expansion — to Roanoke, Va.