The Hop to Open New Production Facility, Tasting Room in West Asheville

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The Hop to Open New Production Facility, Tasting Room in West Asheville

Ashley and Greg Garrison (with their son Finn) plan to open a new ice cream production facility at 167 Haywood Road, Suite 20 in West Asheville. The building will include a small tasting room. Photo by Jason Sandford.

Ashley and Greg Garrison, owners of The Hop ice cream shop in Asheville, announced plans Wednesday to open a production facility on Haywood Road in West Asheville. The 2,500-square-foot space will allow The Hop to meet increased demand for its ice cream, Greg Garrison said. The space will include a small tasting room and will be available for tours.

The location - at 167 Haywood Road, Suite 20, in what is known as East/West Asheville - will put The Hop right across the street from the new Hole doughnut shop under construction, and just down the street from the Urban Orchard cider-makers and Short Street Cakes. Call it Sugar Alley, or maybe Dessert Row. That section of Haywood Road is also within walking distance of the New Belgium Brewing brewery under construction on Craven Street.

The Hop currently has two retail stores - at 640 Merrimon Avenue in the Merrimon Square Shopping Center and at 721 Haywood Road. 

"The main reason for the new location is to make the operation at the Merrimon store and our other one smoother and better experience for the customer," Garrison said. "Right now, there's too much coming and going. We're totally out of space," he added.

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The Garrisons have owned The Hop for six years. They employ about 30 people.

Ashley Garrison said The Hop makes about 125 to 150 gallons of ice cream a day, enough to meet demand at the two stores, as well as The Hop's wholesale accounts and the events it serves. The new production facility will allow The Hop to double the amount of ice cream it makes, she said.

Garrison, who approves all the flavors The Hop serves up, said the small tasting room at the new location will have limited hours. But, "it will be a more experimental place for me where I can try things out on a small scale." The Hop is known for adventuresome flavors. One signature taste from The Hop is cherry kale. The plan is to serve ice cream there in kiddie-sized cups, as well as pints," she said.