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Brewery, distillery get loans from WV state government

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A moonshine distillery and a microbrewery were among businesses receiving preliminary loan approvals from the state Economic Development Authority Thursday morning, part of a pickup in state loan activity.

In addition to helping finance the two business startups, the authority also approved a threephase loan plan designed to help a Harrison County polyurethane company expand its operations.

The three loans, plus an additional loan insurance package, marked a change of pace in the number of business finance packages approved at the authority's monthly meetings.

"It looks like our loan activity has picked up, so that's good news," Economic Development Authority executive director David Warner told board members Thursday morning.

Warner said he couldn't identify any one factor - such as improving economic conditions or an increase in state business startups - that's led to the increase, but he said he expects the trend to continue over the next few months.

"I expect, based on the applications that have come into our office, to have at least another three projects presented for approval next month," Warner said.

Members of the authority board approved two 10-year loans to help Appalachian Distillery LLC and the Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company, Inc. purchase production equipment for their new facilities.

Appalachian Distillery plans to begin producing legal-proof distilled moonshine whiskey and flavored moonshine at a warehouse located along Cedar Lakes Drive near Ripley.

The authority approved an $81,000 loan for the distillery to use to purchase equipment. The interest rate on the 10-year loan was set at 2 percent.

The company had originally planned to locate in Ravenswood, but confusion over that city's zoning laws and protests from a small band of anti-alcohol Christian fundamentalists led the company to decide against locating in that town.

The company plans to employ six people during its first year, growing to a 10-person staff by its third year of operation.

The Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company plans to open its microbrewery operation in a warehouse at the Rahall Technology and Business Center near Lewisburg. The microbrewery will be located across the street from the Smooth Ambler distillery.

The brewing company plans to produce and package a variety of craft beers for distribution and sale in state retail establishments.

The authority approved a 10year, $465,300 loan to help the brewery purchase equipment. The interest rate on the loan was also set at 2 percent.

The Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company will initially employ three people, but the company plans to grow its staff to six people within three years.

The Economic Development Authority also approved a three-part, $3 million loan package to help Clarksburgbased Stockmeier Urethanes, USA Inc. expand its existing warehouse and expand into a new building.

The company, founded in 2003, manufactures and installs polyurethane floor, turf and recreational ground coatings used in outdoor and indoor sports facilities and playgrounds.

The company plans to build a new warehouse and purchase a neighboring building, currently owned by Thrasher Engineering, in order to expand its operations.

The first two parts of the loan package include a 15-year, $500,000 loan that will be used to purchase the Thrasher building. A second 10-year, $270,000 loan will be used to finance the purchase of new equipment.

The 15-year loan has an interest rate of 4 percent, while the interest rate on the 10-year loan will be 2 percent. Both loans are expected to close by the end of this year.

The third portion of the loan package is a 15-year, $2.3 million loan that will help the company finance construction of a new warehouse. Interest on that loan will be determined by adding 0.75 percent to the 20year U.S. Treasury Security rate when the loan closes sometime next year.

The entire expansion project is expected to increase employment at Stockmeier Urethanes from its current 31 employees to 43 employees over the next three years.

In addition to the three loan applications, the authority also approved a $499,800 loan insurance request from the West Union Bank to cover 73.5 percent of a $680,000 loan to Harrisville- based Troy, LLC.

Troy manufactures non-woven textile trim products for the automotive industry.

The West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust, the state's venture capital group, has a more than $1.3 million equity and debt state in the company. The bank loan is designed to help the company refinance and reduce its debt owed to the Jobs Investment Trust.

The West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust, the state's venture capital group, has a more than $1.3 million equity and debt stake in the company.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at or 304348-4836.



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