Sierra New Brewery in Tennessee?

Alcoa, Tennessee appears a top choice for new Sierra Nevada brewery

Tennessee lawmakers are pushing legislation that they hope will persuade Sierra Nevada Brewing to build a new plant East Tennessee.

Sierra Nevada is reportedly looking at various East coast locations to build a new brewery.

Tennessee’s Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday voted 10-0 to advance the bill establishing state guidelines for high-alcohol beer to a full floor vote. The bill would allow Sierra Nevada – and other breweries in the state – to produce strong beer. Tennessee law currently makes no distinction between high-alcohol beer and liquors or wines. The measure would govern the sale of beer with an alcohol content of 5 percent to 20 percent.

Bill Manley, a spokesman for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., said Alcoa is on the short list of finalists for the new brewery. But not without changes in state law to allow for selling high-alcohol beer on site and allowing the products to be sampled at a brew pub and restaurant that would be built alongside the brewery.

“Many of our beers are actually above the 5 percent alcohol by weight, so that’s one of the requirements to even look at that site,” he said.

Manley said company officials are monitoring whether “something passes in a way that will make it reasonable for us” to locate in Tennessee.