Two Major Events This Week and Next
Next week EDCUtah and our partners from business, education and the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) will be in Orlando from May 12-15, showcasing Utah's position as a leader in unmanned vehicles at AUVSI's Unmanned Systems Trade Show and Conference. The following week, May 18-20, EDCUtah, GOED and a host of leaders from Utah cities and counties will travel to Las Vegas to attend ICSC RECon, the global convention for the shopping center industry.
Both events provide significant opportunities for EDCUtah and its partners. Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are becoming a key component of Utah's aerospace industry, which employs thousands of Utahns and generates billions of dollars in revenue. The growing number of uses for unmanned aerial systems range from agricultural to search and rescue. And, as the technology evolves, it will redefine many industries, carrying out both dangerous and menial tasks. We are excited to showcase all that Utah has to offer in UAS, including the research, development and testing taking place in our state.
ICSC's RECon is a retail event, and although EDCUtah does not focus its primary economic development efforts on retail, supporting our city and county partners in their recruitment efforts is important to us. The Utah Pavilion at RECon is always centrally located in the leasing mall, and many retailers and developers deliberately look for the Pavilion while at the event. By partnering with EDCUtah and GOED, Utah cities and counties are able to attend the show a lower cost and can leverage the Pavilion to make connections, hold meetings and display information about their retail opportunities. ICSC is a fantastic opportunity, and we are grateful to share the experience with our partners.
Today's Economic Review also includes links to many of the ED-related news stories from the past week. As always, if you have comments, suggestions or topics you'd like to see in the Economic Review, please contact us by clicking the "Comments" link on the bottom of this page. Enjoy!
President and CEO
Uinta Brewing Co. recently completed a major expansion that took it from a 26,000 square-foot facility to a five-acre brewing campus with a state-of-the-art 130bbl German Braukon brewhouse.
Utah's Business of Beer
Lindsay Berk isn't surprised when someone tells her, "This a great beer, considering it came from Utah." As marketing director for Uinta Brewing Co. in Salt Lake City, she's heard all of the jokes, myths and stereotypes about Utah being a teetotaling state with strict liquor laws.
Many visitors to the state are indeed surprised by the number and variety of award-wining, great tasting local brews created here. And given Utah's reputation, they are also surprised the state has numerous successful breweries, wineries and distilleries. What shouldn't be a surprise, at least to locals, is the underlying connection these businesses and a thriving distributing industry have to economic development in Utah.
As Visit Salt Lake President and CEO Scott Beck explains, "The recent growth of breweries and distilleries in and around Salt Lake is a fantastic story and one we're telling and re-telling to meeting professionals and potential visitors as often and as loudly as possible." Beck has good reason for telling and retelling such news. Myths about Utah's social scene include false ideas: you can't buy a strong drink here, get a beer with more than four percent alcohol in it or go into a bar without a membership. For meeting and conference planners, Beck also wants them to know Utah offers the nightlife and venues for social gatherings that convention attendees expect.
"Despite the many advances in teleconferencing and ability to 'cyber-meet,' people still need to meet face-to-face on the trade show floor and, equally important, after the show [closes for the day]," he says. "Convention attendees take their conversations and business dealings to restaurants and continue to 'meet' over a drink at a local bar or at a brewery. Salt Lake's restaurant and nightlife growth is critical to our ability to offer visitors of all types the opportunity to connect with others. This dynamic is key to keeping Salt Lake a viable meeting, convention and tourism destination."
Certainly, Utah's growing number of breweries, distilleries and wineries help support that dynamic. The state's wineries are spread from Moab in southeastern Utah to Cedar City in the west, to Layton on the north. Two of the best known are Salt Lake's ubran winery, Kiler Grove, and Moab's Castle Creek. As for hard liquor, Utah's small-batch spirit-making operations include Sugar House Distillery and in Salt Lake City, Ogden's Own and High West Distillery in Park City, which claims to be Utah's first legal distillery since 1870. Uniquely located exactly at 7,000 feet above sea level in Park City, High West is also "the world's only ski-in gastro-distillery" with its doors opening near the base of Town Lift. The company sells its products in more than 30 states, Canada, China and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, VIDA Tequila, headquartered in Draper, produces ultra-premium, award-winning tequila from Jalisco, Mexico.
Utah's beer breweries also span the state, from north to south and east to west. They include companies like Desert Edge Brewery, Epic Brewing Co., Squatters Pub Brewery, Roosters, Bohemian Brewery and Grill, Red Rock Brewing Co., Wasatch Brew Pub & Brewery, Shades of Pale and many others. Twenty-one-year-old Uinta Brewing Co., one of the state's largest and most successful craft brewers, employs about 50 workers and recently completed a major expansion that took it from a 26,000 square-foot facility to a five-acre brewing campus with a state-of-the-art 130bbl German Braukon brewhouse to support the company's rapid growth.
"It's pretty impressive," says Uinta's Berk of the expansion. "We've had significant growth, and in 2012, we grew 67 percent in sales and added 30 percent growth last year." Uinta sells its beer in 28 states, including most of the Intermountain West, Texas, Illinois and along the East Coast. The Brewers Association has ranked Uinta among the top 50 craft brewers in the country for the last two years. "That's not an easy feat these days," she adds. The company has won numerous awards in Europe and the United States for its ales, lagers and barley wines.
The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has issued 38 licenses to Utah businesses for the manufacturing alcohol–20 for breweries, six for distilleries and 12 for wineries. About 17 of the state's breweries also have an on-premise license allowing them to sell alcohol as a restaurant, tavern or club. And about 26 of the companies possessing manufacturing licenses also have package agencies, where they can sell products they produce for off-premise consumption. Meanwhile, there are 13 beer wholesalers licensed in the state for distribution. These are businesses that not only create jobs and tax dollars, but add value to the state by meeting a need–locally and beyond–through their products.
Local brews are a favorite at many of Salt Lake City's restaurants and bars, including popular watering holes like the Beerhive, the Bayou and the newly-opened Beer Bar, which serves 150 different beers and is co-owned by Ty Burrell, the bumbling dad on ABC's "Modern Family."
One of the state's leading sommeliers, Jimmy Santangelo, a New Yorker who attended the University of Utah and returned to the Beehive State after a stint in the corporate world, runs The Virtual Sommelier and The Wine Academy of Utah. He advises many of the top restaurants in the state regarding their wine selection, mentors wine enthusiasts and teaches corporate executives and meeting planners how to navigate a wine list. Santangelo says the state offers an amazing selection of wines, beers and spirits.
"I can't even decide where to go for dinner and a drink. I have too many choices," he says. "I can get a great glass of wine at a wine bar like BTG or enjoy fine dining and a drink at the Copper Onion." If he were visiting Salt Lake City, Santangelo says he might start off with a hand-crafted cocktail at Bar X, which is "a great place to tell everyone to meet." From there he might walk toward Pioneer Park to Pallet, which he touts as an amazing restaurant with beautiful design.
"As a consumer, the growth and quality of the bars and restaurants in Utah is amazing," Santangelo says. "I am so proud of the area." – Gaylen Webb
The University of Utah: An Economic Engine
While providing educational opportunities to more than 30,000 students, the University of Utah is also one of the state's largest employers and an economic engine, adding jobs to the state through its research, tech commercialization, medical center and many other departments. The university has supported EDCUtah since 1989, and President David W. Pershing serves on EDCUtah's Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees. As a partner of EDCUtah, members from the university staff regularly attend our economic development events, investor update meetings and participate in the annual Golf for Grants Tournament.
The University of Utah's mission is to serve the people of Utah and the world through the discovery, creation and application of knowledge. This is accomplished through the dissemination of knowledge by teaching, publication, artistic presentation, technology transfer and community engagement.
The educational partnership shared by the university and EDCUtah supports the school's mission and its efforts to prepare students with the job skills required by local businesses. The partnership is also essential to EDCUtah's economic development efforts because many businesses recognize the value of the student workforce or want to be connected to the university through its research and other offerings. We greatly appreciate the support of the University of Utah. For more information about the university, please visit www.utah.edu or call (801) 581-5712. – April Torres and Gaylen Webb
Governor's Outdoor Recreation Summit (Salt Palace Convention Center)
AUVSI's 2014 Unmanned Systems Conference and Trade Show (Orlando)
EDCUtah Board of Trustees meeting (Joseph Smith Memorial Building)
Utah's Entrepreneurial Summit (Davis Conference Center)
ICSC RECON (Las Vegas)
SAMPE Tradeshow (Seattle)
2014 Governor's Energy Development Summit (Salt Palace Convention Center)
EDCUtah Golf for Grants Tournament 2014 (Eaglewood Golf Course, North Salt Lake)
EDCUtah Executive Committee meeting (Location TBD)
EDCUtah Quarterly Investor Update (Roseman University)
UTC 12th Annual Golf Invitational (Salt Lake Country Club). Sponsor and connect with more than 100 high-level executives from Utah companies.
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In the News
E-commerce driving industrial property in Salt Lake County
When agents sold a $15 million distribution building on Salt Lake City's west side in early April, it marked the city's largest industrial property sale in 2014. Until two days later, that is, when they sold an even bigger industrial building located farther west on the same street, for an even higher, though undisclosed, price.
(Salt Lake Tribune)
Utah handled a boom in growth and can do it again, experts say
Utah used careful planning to avoid some horrible effects of rapid growth in the past 20 years, experts say, and it's time to do it again. That probably includes raising motor-fuel taxes to pay for transportation improvements. Speakers delivered that message last week during the Top of Utah Transportation Expo.
(Salt Lake Tribune)
Utah's eight most innovative products win awards
Stoel Rives LLP and the Utah Technology Council recognized the state's top eight innovations and the companies responsible for them with Utah Innovation Awards last week during a luncheon at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center.
(Salt Lake Tribune) (Deseret News)
Defense contractor Alliant Techsystems Inc. announces spinoff and merger
Defense contractor Alliant Techsystems Inc. announced last week that its board of directors has unanimously approved a plan to create two independent, public companies in the outdoor sports and aerospace and defense industries.
(Deseret News) (Standard-Examiner)
ATK moving sporting HQ from Minnesota to Utah
Aerospace and armaments company Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) plans to split itself in two, merging its defense-industry business with Orbital Sciences Corp. and spinning off its Minnesota-run sporting business into a new business headquartered in Utah.
(Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)
As unemployment continues to drop, business confidence runs at all-time high in Utah County
Among a new all-time high confidence in the current business conditions, the unemployment rate for Utah County decreased 0.2 percentage point to 4.0 percent in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
(American Fork Citizen)
Utahns' consumer confidence hits new high
Utahns are increasingly confident in the business conditions found in the Beehive State. The Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index has increased 3.7 point to 102.9, its highest since the index started in 2011.
(Salt Lake Tribune)
Health care signups in Utah exceed expectations
Utah enrollment in health care plans on the federal website greatly exceeded what the Obama administration expected, according to new government figures released last week.
(Fresno Bee) (Deseret News) (Salt Lake Tribune)
N.C. firm acquires Salt Lake City-based Williamsen Manfucturing
Dunn, N.C.-based The Godwin Group has acquired Salt Lake City-based Williamsen Manufacturing for an undisclosed sum, Godwin announced late Wednesday. Williamsen produces municipal trucking equipment for distribution throughout the western United States.
(Salt Lake Tribune)
Australian company pitches UTOPIA future
In a scenario likely to be repeated at numerous cities over the next two months, Macquarie Capital laid out a billion-dollar plan to save UTOPIA during a packed Layton City Council meeting last week.
Utah's Station Park continues to grow with 14 new shops, restaurants
Farmington's Station Park continues to grow in 2014 with the announcement of 14 new businesses that will open their doors this year.
(Salt Lake Tribune)
Record set for thermoacoustic power generation in Ogden
Qnergy, an Israel-based manufacturer of Stirling-based engines and systems, set a world record in April during a field test at its Ogden facility for using acoustic waves created by solar heat to produce 1 kW of electrical power.
Provo buys disputed Rock Canyon for $1.6M
Provo Mayor John Curtis says the city has purchased a disputed canyon favored by recreationists for $1.6 million. The canyon has been the center of a long dispute over ownership of and mining on the land.
Entrepreneur summit is May 14 in Layton
Small-business owners and entrepreneurs are invited to the Utah Entrepreneurial Summit, "The Unstoppable Entrepreneur," on May 14 at the Davis Conference Center.
Preparing Utah's Workforce: The case for STEM
While speaking at the annual Economic Development Summit this spring, Natalie Gochnour told Gov. Gary R. Herbert he needed a new goal for Utah's economy. Far more than a simple applause line, this statement was a poignant insight into the future and seemed to ask the question: What's next?
New lending rules will suppress homebuying
The United States should be enjoying a major resurgence in home building and buying, which would boost the nation's sluggish economy. However, the nation's bankers believe new mortgage rules promulgated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be a damper on the housing market.
Hundreds laid off at Utah health care call center
General Dynamics is laying off at least 645 people at a call center devoted to federal health care reform in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy.
(Salt Lake Tribune)
Relentless growth threatens Utah road funding
Most residents are familiar with the fact that the population is expected to continue growing and the transportation challenges seen today will only be compounded significantly as the numbers increase.
Chamber encourages business-education partnerships
The Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce is on its way toward the goal of having 80 percent of area businesses creating partnerships with education.
Is Salt Lake City's reputation for above-average upward mobility in danger?
As part of an ongoing series on "The Next Economy," the National Journal recently explored Salt Lake City's reputation as an economic environment with above-average upward mobility.
Long sequestration would threaten some Hill F-35s
If sequester-level funding continues beyond 2015, the F-35 program will take quite a hit, according to a new report from the Pentagon.
Utah could lose $400M in transportation funds
Utah could lose more than $400 million in federal funding for highways and mass transit next year if Congress does not act quickly to stop the Highway Trust Fund from going broke in the next few months.
(Salt Lake Tribune)
Salt Lake City completes initial steps in Google Fiber process
Salt Lake City announced Friday that the city has completed the first stage in a process that may lead to high-speed Google Fiber service for its residents.
Utah plays large part in nation's increased geothermal capacity
Geothermal power that came online in Utah and two other Western states helped keep the industry on the map in 2013 in what would have otherwise been a flat year domestically for new geothermal power production.