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Mills River to take up incentives for beer distributor

MILLS RIVER — The Mills River Town Board will take up a request to grant incentives of up to $21,000 to help recruit a $20 million beer distributor across the French Broad River from the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

The Mills River action would come two weeks after the Henderson County Board of Commissioners granted the company, Empire Distributors of North Carolina Inc., economic incentives of up to $479,000 over seven years provided the company invests at least $20 million in a new building and equipment and adds 15 jobs. The company would be eligible for a $72,000 county property tax refund in the first year.

 

If the Mills River Town Board approves the request on Aug. 29, the company would be eligible for a property tax refund of $3,136 the first year and $20,893 over seven years.

"I think they're just moving 10 miles down the road," Mayor Roger Snyder said of the distributorship. The company plans to move to a parcel on the far end of Broad Pointe Industrial Park that now has gravel road access to Old Fanning Bridge Road. "I want to make sure we don't mix a lot of residential traffic with big trucks."

Snyder said he wanted to hear more about the potential for paving of the gravel road, either through the DOT or the company. "I just don't know what kind of funds they've got in mind," he said.

On the positive side, Snyder said Empire seems to be a good corporate citizen.

"I've seen them involved in the community quite a bit," he said. "I think they've gotten involved in the community pretty much."


A distributor of beer, wine and liquor, Empire has more than 700 employees in eight cities in the South including Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Atlanta, its website says. It has a plant in Arden off U.S. 25 north of Airport Road. Its relocation to Broad Pointe would be the first major spinoff industry to locate close to the new brewery in Ferncliff Industrial Park, which is across the river from Broad Pointe.