Blount County craft beer campaign gains momentum

Blount County craft beer campaign gains momentum

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Blount County officials and craft beer enthusiasts say the proposal they're working on is already catching the attention of Stone Mountain Brewing. Blount County officials and craft beer enthusiasts say the proposal they're working on is already catching the attention of Stone Mountain Brewing.
Matt Honkonen (left) wrote "A Stone in East Tennessee" to help bring Stone Brewing Company to Blount County. Matt Honkonen (left) wrote "A Stone in East Tennessee" to help bring Stone Brewing Company to Blount County.
At The Market in Maryville, bartender Jason Carpenter is a big supporter of the craft beer campaign. At The Market in Maryville, bartender Jason Carpenter is a big supporter of the craft beer campaign.

By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - The campaign to bring one of the biggest craft beer brewers in the country to Blount County is growing.

It started about six weeks ago after California-based Stone Brewing Company announced plans to expand on the East Coast.

Blount County officials and craft beer enthusiasts say the proposal they're working on is already catching the attention of the company. Along with a social media campaign, they're now performing songs written just for the brewery owners.

Matt Honkonen wrote "A Stone in East Tennessee" to help bring Stone Brewing Company to Blount County.

"We thought we need to be creative. We can't just send them a piece of paper with come here to Tennessee, let's show them how much we want them here," Honkonen said. 

Bryan Daniels, president of the economic development group Blount Partnership, says they're hoping the beer company will choose Pellissippi Place Business Park as its East Coast hub.

"For the type of labor that we're trying to attract and the type of jobs that we're wanting to attract, a craft brewer is tops on our list of putting in the park," Daniels said.

Tim Wirtz, with Mary Beth West Communications, says there's likely hundreds of other cities competing for the brewery, but he's confident this area is at the top of the list.

"We're trying to put it back in their face and say, we want to have you guys here. Come here. You need us as much as we need you," Wirtz said.

At The Market in Maryville, bartender Jason Carpenter is a big supporter of the craft beer campaign. He says just like with food, people want to know where their beer comes from, and he wants more of it to come from Blount County.

"There's a lot more flavorful offerings out there. That's what craft beer represents. It's a small, niche market, but it's growing exponentially right now," Carpenter said.

The proposals are due March 15th. It could be a few months before the company chooses a city. 

Three years ago, Blount County was a top contender to bring in Sierra Nevada Brewing, but the company chose Asheville, N.C. instead. 

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