Beer Battle Brews Up With New Player: Stone Brewing -

Beer Battle Brews Up With New Player: Stone Brewing

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The buzz is about booze – two local groups are eying for a California brewing company to set up shop in our area.

Bids went out last week to bring Stone Brewing to set up its east coast facility here.

But some local breweries aren’t calling this happy hour – so for now it’s a beer battle as to what happens.

For the last 5 years, Olde Mecklenburg Brewery has bottled, barreled and bartered beer to local bars.

“Local beer is better beer, and better beer is fresher beer,” said John Marrino.

John Marrino started this brewery and is already looking to expand.

“When we opened 5 years ago, we were the only brewery in town but since then 5 others have opened. I believe 3 more are going to open this year,” said Marrino.

Marrino raises a glass at a new player in the mix – stone brewing.

“It cost a lot of money to ship beer across the country.  So they are putting a factory to ship to the east coast. It’s logistics at the end of the day,” said Marrino.

And this means jobs for Charlotte area workers.

"These are manufacturing jobs even though we think of it as beer. Hopefully the impact is positive for our brewers,” said Ryan McDaniels, with the Lake Norman Economic Development.

But local brewers are frothing over the idea that a California company might get too warm of a welcome here.

"I do find it ironic and irritating that local government would offer incentives to come. We've been working our butts off to build our business and we don't get any incentives,” said Marrino.

Local business leaders say with no incentives, companies like Stone Brewing, may not short list our area.

"We are competing with cities all over the east coast,” said McDaniels.

But to Marrino, the best brew is one that’s born and bred here at home.

 "Beer should be a local product. It's like liquid bread. It's best when it comes out and like bread it gets worse,” said Marrino.

Wilmington, Greensboro, and Pittsburgh are a few cities Charlotte is competing with.

Charlotte will find out in a few months if it’s won the bid.

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