I didn’t know what to write for a Monday Morning Mop Up column because there was no real news to report. I’m not sure that the Rock’s mother surviving a head on accident with an allegedly drunk driver. Though I’m sure someone busted out a bad Asian driver joke that I didn’t read. Even though I’m not compelled by anyone to do a PSA, do keep in mind that The Lady is always the designated driver. I’m glad she only likes ciders which aren’t always easy to come by in small brew pubs. Since I didn’t have any news to mop up, some came to me courtesy of Jeremy’s former city of residence, Greenville SC. The headline asked a simple question “Why didn’t Stone Brewing Co. come to South Carolina?” What got me to write this column though was a comment by Kevin Landmesser, who is interim CEO of the Greenville Area Development Corporation
The focus on Ohio “is a real question mark,” because the only benefit would appear to be its well-known geographically central location…
And another line from a local lawyer Brook Bristow stood out too
“Virginia I’m not surprised by,” he said. “They’ve really come on in recent years. When I think of edge and attitude, I don’t necessarily think of Ohio. Ohio is a little surprising. Good for them.”
Did either of these guys do any research on this subject before talking about it? Let’s just start with some basic information to help fill you two clueless morons in. Stone Brewing isn’t looking at coming to Ohio. They’re considering coming to Columbus, which is now the largest city in the state. But let’s back up to the state for a second. Ohio is the seventh most populated state in the Union with 11.57 million residents. South Carolina ranks twenty fourth at 4.75 million. Columbus is the fifteenth largest city in the country with 822,553 people and the metro area has 1.967 million. The Greenville metro area which covers Anderson, Pickens and Laurens, has a population of 824,112. Columbus proper is almost as large as your entire metro area. The state has more than double the people. Any business is going to go where there are more people because that means more sales.
I’m also not sure how Landmesser didn’t figure out why they’d use Ohio when he said exactly why it’d be beneficial, it’s central location. Plenty of companies do their testing here because of the people traveling through here. I know for sure that McDonald’s uses Columbus as a test market before launching new menu items nationally. Columbus isn’t their only test market naturally. Going back to population for a moment which ties into it’s central location, it doesn’t hurt that Ohio is bordered or very close to other large states in New York (3rd), Illinois (5th), Pennsylvania (6th), Michigan (9th), Kentucky (26th) and West Virginia (38th). South Carolina is surrounded Georgia (8th), North Carolina (10th), Virginia (12th) and Tennessee (17th). The later two bordering states of Ohio aren’t going to be an influence. One could argue that South Carolina’s proximity to Florida (4th) balance out Ohio’s proximity to New York. Of course I would counter that Virginia could be added to Ohio’s sphere so that state’s population could be washed out. Ohio’s again positioned closer to more population which makes it a natural choice.
Landmesser and Bristow also glossed over a fact that the reporter didn’t, that one of the founders of Stone Brewing, Greg Koch, grew up in Ohio. I’m not saying that is a good reason to use $31 million of your companies’ money to build a brewery but I’m sure it does have some influence. One good reason to move to Ohio could be highlighted by this very blog. I have spent the last two years chronicling my intake of beer and talking about the great breweries that have popped up in Columbus and central Ohio. When I sent this article to Jeremy, he laughed and responded with “I didn’t know there was a brewery near my house though. That Brew 85, if you went to bottom of the page.” I’m never going to argue that Columbus is thee place for craft beer since we’ve gotten a much later jump than the West Coast. But if a fellow contributor and drinker of craft beers doesn’t know of a brewery near his house, South Carolina’s craft beer scene isn’t as happening as Columbus. If there was a brewery opening up near my condo, trust me, I’d know.
If Stone Brewing decides to chose Virginia, I’ll hope they chose Richmond so that I can go to their brewery when I go to visit my older brother and his family. I won’t act surprised like these two who should have gathered more facts before trying to recruit Stone Brewing. I want Stone to choose Columbus though because of beer drinkers like my neighbor Fred are pushing their livers to the limit to get them to come here. – Kevin