TRENTON, N.C. – There is big economic development news out of Jones County.
The Beer Army Combat Brewery broke ground at a 10,000 square-foot facility in Trenton.
The craft brewing business has been booming across North Carolina in recent years, but not in the eastern part of the state.
Once back from deployment, Marine Maj. Dustin Canestorp would often brew up a batch of his own original beer for his buddies.
"I started loosely calling us the Beer Army," said Canestorp.
Approaching retirement, in a recovering economy and an economically depressed town, Canestorp saw opportunity in the craft brewing business in eastern North Carolina.
"For me, my American dream is entrepreneurship and I love beer. I wanted to marry those two together somehow,” said Canestorp.
Thus, the Beer Army actually became a real thing. Five years of work led up to this groundbreaking at the Beer Army Combat Brewery in Trenton on Thursday.
"We believe that with the job creation and with this company's outlook on for community partnership,” said Jayne Robb, Jones County economic development director, “it's going to give Jones County just a new complex addition to growth. Jones County being a rural county, as you know, we're also a tier -one county, we can use all the job development growth that we can get.”
The brewery will partner with local farmers, spur tourism and generate revenue for the area.
"There's not much industry here so we found a small town here in Trenton and we really feel like we can make a big impact here in the community,” said Scott Andrews, public affairs officer for Beer Army
Canestorp said in addition to following his dream to be a military service member, he's just trying to do what he can for his country.
"What's going to get this country back on track is the small business entrepreneur,” he said. “That's where I feel we have a lot of strength and we can leverage that and help out our local community."
The brewery hopes to create 25 jobs over the next five years and has already donated $80,000 to charity since 2010.
The new facility is expected to be up and running by the end of February.