Virginia: Could it be the New Home to ‘Craft City USA’?

A LOOK AT HOW CRAFT BEER IS TRANSFORMING VIRGINIA AND THE REGION

by Kim Koditek, Marketing Coordinator

Craft Beer

Image gathered from the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development.

It’s a trend that’s sweeping the nation. It has people and businesses excited, motivated, prospering…and well, a little buzzed. That trend is craft beer, and it is taking our great State of Virginia by storm.

There are now over 100 craft breweries and microbreweries listed under Virginia’s brewery catalog on virginia.org. Some of the big names include: Bold Rock Cidery & Brewpub, Devils Backbone Brewing Co., and soon to be, Stone Brewery Co. in Richmond (in construction) and of course, Green Flash Brewing Co. in Virginia Beach (in construction).

In just the Hampton Roads region alone, there are now over 10 craft breweries and microbreweries—and, the best part is, this number is growing. While new companies, such as Green Flash (originally based in San Diego, Ca.), are coming to the area, existing breweries are looking to expand. O’Connor Brewing Co. moved and expanded their facilities in 2014, and now, some of their competitors are not far behind. Both Back Bay Brewing Co. and Young Veteran’s Brewing Co. are currently looking to follow O’Connor’s lead and expand their existing facilities. Not to mention, there are new, smaller breweries opening in our region as well, such as Bold Mariner Brewing opening in Norfolk this coming November 14, 2015.

Other surrounding states, such as North Carolina, have also gotten a jump on the craft beer trend. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. opened its doors in 2014 in Mills River, just south of Ashville, while New Belgium Brewing Co. has plans to open in Ashville in 2016. Both breweries are known for being two of the largest craft beer companies in the country. While it seems that North Carolina may have gotten a slight lead with this craft beer trend, Virginia is catching up fast, especially now that it seems to be gaining government support.

“As the craft beer market has grown and these companies have grown into bigger job creators and bigger sources of economic impact, the reception from government officials has grown as well,” Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, said in an article in Bloomberg Business. “We’ve entered this era of second facilities in different parts of the country. There’s a lot more courting going on.”

An example of this ‘courting’ can be seen in a recent article by the Associated Press, as Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe confirmed that “he’s incentivizing Deschutes Brewery of Bend [Oregon] to pick Virginia as its new East Coast site.”

So, as locals of Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads build their excitement, patiently awaiting the opening of the new Green Flash Brewery along Corporate Landing and General Booth Blvd. in 2016, the rest of Virginia along with others across the East Coast should take up interest as well. Embrace the craft beer trend, and embrace where it’s taking our region. From the beautiful Appalachian Mountains in the west, to our Nation’s Capital in the North, and all the way to the Eastern Shore and the sands of Virginia Beach, what better place to sit back and enjoy your favorite craft beer? Why not make Virginia Beach, and all of Virginia, the new home to Craft City USA.

For more information about craft breweries or brewery construction and expansion, feel free to contact The Miller Group’s Vice President of Development, Whit Hill, at 757-374-0062 or at shill@millergrpva.com.

We’ll build it, You brew it.

–  The Miller Group