ALPINE, Wyo. - A new brewery is one step closer to moving to the Star Valley, bringing with it jobs and a renewed economic outlook for the region.
Thursday the town of Alpine was awarded a much-awaited $2.9 million grant from the Wyoming Business Council to build a new facility for Jackson-based Melvin Brewing on the edge of town.
Three employees currently work out of Melvin's existing closet-size facility in the back of the Thai Me Up Restaurant, and they say their production capacity is limited.
Meanwhile, demand continues to grow, and they say they're unable to keep up.
"I see customers specifically planning vacations to come here to Jackson just to try our beer," said Thai Me Up manager Jamie Morris, who also works with the brewery.
"We'd been trying to do this here in Jackson for a while and simply couldn't find the real estate and space that would be feasible for us," said Morris.
So they turned their eyes down the road to Alpine, where the town has agreed to use their grant to build Melvin Brewing a 20,000 square foot facility near the Palisades.
"Our property's going to be adjacent to their water treatment facility, which is going to make the construction and the process a very seamless process for us down there," said Morris.
Once construction wraps up, the town will own the facility, but they'll lease it back to Melvin Brewing. Over a 15-year-period, Melvin will have the opportunity to buy it back.
The brewery is expected to bring 40 to 50 new jobs to Alpine in it's first five years of operation.
"We are all ecstatic. We've been working on this for a really long time. It's a really unique, neat project to be able to work with the town of Alpine," said Morris.
The town could actually receive the money as early as August, and break ground this fall. Morris said the new brewery should be up and running by the end of 2015.
Once the Alpine facility is complete, Morris said the smaller facility in Jackson could potentially be used for research and design.