Eagle Distributing brews up a West Knox move

Distributor out of room at local facilities

Josh Flory knoxnews.com

A sea of suds was the catalyst for a $3.5 million real estate deal that was finalized in recent days.

Eagle Distributing, the Knoxville-based beer distributor, is planning to consolidate its local operations at an industrial facility in West Knox County.

According to a deed on file with the county, an entity linked to Eagle recently bought the former PBR auto parts facility, in the WestBridge Business Park, for $3.5 million.

Chief financial officer Mike Craig said Friday that the facility will serve as a new warehouse for Eagle’s Lenoir City and Knoxville operations.

“Our business has grown dramatically over the last few years, with the advent of other craft beers that we’ve taken on,” Craig said. “And we’re just simply out of space, quite honestly.”

Craig said the company hasn’t decided what will happen to its existing facilities, but indicated they will likely be offered for sale or lease.

While Eagle is largely focused on Anheuser-Busch brands, the company also distributes smaller names including New Belgium, Yuengling and Sweetwater.

“Today the craft beers have become a dominant player in the market and (the) consumer demands it,” Craig said. “So we try to offer what our consumer and our retailers like to drink. And to do that requires a lot more floor space.”

The 220,000-square foot facility was previously home to PBR Knoxville, which made brake calipers. Parent company The Bosch Group in 2009 announced it was closing the plant.

Craig said the building will have to be significantly reconfigured, and that Eagle doesn’t have a definite time frame for the move.

Maribel Koella and Sam Tate, of NAI Knoxville, represented the seller on the deal. Koella said the local commercial real estate market is picking up.

“For a long time nobody looked at anything, it just stopped,” she said. “As long as you’ve got people touring buildings, looking at buildings, then you know sooner or later somebody’s going to make a decision. And that is what we’re seeing now.”