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Roanoke City Council finalizes deal with Deschutes

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Roanoke City Council put the final stamp on its deal with Deschutes Monday night.

The company has been given until June 1st, 2019 to set up in the Star City.

Deschutes' Chief Financial Officer, Peter Skrbek, was in town for the official word.

He says two things are making the process take three years.

One is developing a facility capable of one day producing a million barrels of beer a year, and the other is making sure the product tastes exactly like it does on the west coast.

Skrbek says Virginia did a lot in the form of incentives to entice the company.

"Both at the state level and the local community level have been overwhelmingly supportive of bringing us to Roanoke, and it really does help make the difference," said Skrbek.

Three million dollars from the State of Virginia, and a reimbursement on half of the company's machinery and tools taxes were a big part of that difference.

"We were competing in this case with North Carolina who usually, we studied their incentives from previous deals, and we tried to make sure that we stayed in the running," said Roanoke Economic Development Director Wayne Bowers.

Now that the deal is sealed, Skrbek says the company has big plans.

"Initially in 2021 the goal is 190 thousand barrels per year, but we would like to be able to ramp up exponentially from there," said Skrbek.

Eventually, Deschutes hopes to be producing a million barrels a year in the Star City.

To do that, the company is hoping to hire hundreds of new employees.

"We range from the tour team to core manufacturing packaging, which is a very advanced operation now, so a lot of more advanced approach to package fulfillment, brewing, microbiologists, chemists, we have quality control folks, so a lot of varied skill sets that we're going to need," said Skrbek.

People will also benefit from the extension of Roanoke's favorite trail system.

"Really exciting is the Greenway. Completing that Greenway and making the brewery accessible to anyone in the community by alternate mode of transportation," said Skrbek.

It's that forethought and hospitality that Skrbek says ultimately won the company over.

"At the end of the day, what led us to Roanoke was the culture, the community, people that made us feel at home and very welcome," said Skrbek.

As additional incentives, the city will be moving all electric lines on the property underground, outfitting it with water and sewer, and providing wiring for high speed internet.

In return, the contract says Deschutes must at a minimum hire 70 employees and invest 26 million dollars.