We started 2017 off by catching up with our friends at The Brew Enthusiast, and spent some time discussing/enjoying 'Burg beer and looking ahead to what's brewing in the new year. Cliffs Notes: seasonal cans, bottle releases, more barrel-aging/fermenting, new small batch beers, and all the cheers you can handle!
We're all really excited (understatement) about the start of brewing at The Virginia Beer Company. Just as we were preparing for our very first brew day in January, The Local Scoop swooped in and got the scoop (so to speak) on our plans to get brewing and get open in 2016. Excerpt below and the full story can be enjoyed here.
One of the biggest draws to me for opening a brewery was doing so with one of my best friends. Who doesn't like the idea of working together with someone you know you get along with, and someone who shares similar ideals to you on Day 1 in the workplace? And that dream is about to become a reality as we get ready to open The Virginia Beer Company in Williamsburg, VA in Spring 2016! For Chris, Jonathan, and I it has been a long, amazing, arduous, and fulfilling journey to build this brewery and finally, in 2016, begin brewing! For Chris and I in particular, the conversation to open a brewery started as far back as 2007 and really ramped up in 2010, before Chris & Erin quit their jobs in 2012 to move back to Williamsburg. As you can see from the very first press we ever received about The Virginia Beer Co. in this 2013 article from The Flat Hat, it took us a bit longer than expected to get up and brewing. Not for lack of planning and trying (we tell ourselves), but sometimes that's the way opening a new business goes. Preparedness and dedication will eventually win the day, and we've had a number of amazing experiences since returning to Williamsburg (I following suit full time in 2014).
One of the things that kept us going was our fondness for the Greater Williamsburg area. A big reason for returning to Williamsburg to open a business was because it's where our story as partners began. While we looked at many different areas up & down the East Coast that could have been interesting places to open a brewery, at the end of the day we knew we were coming together over our love of beer in the state where we met, and doing so in the place that brought us together just made sense. It didn't hurt that Chris's wife, Erin, was also a William & Mary alum. Or that Chris and I volunteered for a board for the College and co-chaired our respective 5-year reunion gifts, both bringing us back to campus on a regular basis. Or that Chris's youngest brother, Will, was set to graduate from the same university in 2014. Whatever the reasons, we had a continued appreciatioin for our time at W&M, for the lessons learned while there, and for the personal connections we had maintained since graduating. One thing was for certain: when the time came to start our adventure in 2012, we had no doubt that Williamsburg was the place to do so. It was the home to a community that had already given much to us and our friends and our families. We were already giving back to the college community part-time, so why not make it a full time endeavour and give back to the Greater Williamsburg area community on a full time basis? The passion to create something that could foster community engagement and be philanthropy focused was there and we simply needed the place and the mechanism to bring it all together.
It has taken us longer than we thought. It's been more expensive and more frustrating than ever imagined. But recently, Chris and I were afforded opportunities to reflect on our stories. Chris was even asked by his high school alma mater (Westminster School), a high school that his wife and all of his brothers also attended, to reflect way back about what then and what now tied together to push him down an entrepreneurial path. I recently had the opportunity to reflect on my relationship with my collegiate alma mater, an alma mater shared with Chris and his wife and Chris's youngest brother, about where my experiences have led me. All of this reflection reminded us about the authenticity of our place and plan, and why we've continued to forge down the road of uncertainty to open a brand new brewery amid a booming brewing landscape. Long story short: here, in Williamsburg, it's personal. It's why we're here. It's why we're still here. And it's why we love being here!
All of this nostalgia came about as we approached the eve of our first brew day, when we had the recent fortune to reconnect with William & Mary's newspaper, The Flat Hat, to provide an update on our plans. This time, we actually had a facility to tour, a brewmaster to introduce, and ingredients waiting to be turned into beer! So while we may have missed the mark by about two years between interviews with The Flat Hat, needless to say we were pretty excited to see where our story had taken us when we finally had a chance to read the new article...
So what's in a story? Well, to us, just about everything. And we hope that you'll agree when you have the chance to sample The Virginia Beer Co.'s rotation of beers at 401 Second Street this spring!
We've been working hard at The Virginia Beer Co. to get up & running. Buildout and site work at 401 are ongoing and our bigger pieces of equipment (including brewhouses!) and kegs are arriving soon. With all that's going on, it can be nice to take a step back and admire the amazing craft beer landscape that is developing in the Hampton Roads area. Virginia is already a beer destination in it's own right, and we love seeing HRVA get its due as well. The Daily Press recently published an article on the breweries, current and future, working to build the area's craft reputation. And they were kind enough to put together an interactive map of what's here and what's to come! Get your road trips planned!
The Virginia Beer Co. recently had the pleasure of hosting Elizabeth Erschens, of VEER Magazine & Virginia Craft Beer Magazine (and HomebrewUSA & HomeBrew USA -Hampton!), at 401! Elizabeth turned that visit into a wonderful article that is currently gracing the pages of the most recent issue of VEER! We can't say enough how much we greatly appreciate the kind words. And we can't wait to host Elizabeth and everyone else at 401 once our buildout is finished; things will look just a little different and we'll have a lot more beer!
Check out the article in the current issue of VEER, or on VEER's website at the link below:
Via @VirginiaBeerCo on Instagram:
Williamsburg, VA recently hosted its largest craft festival to date, Whistle Belly. The festival was met with a great reception! Large crowds, many breweries, spirits & wine, tasty food, good fun and the debut of The Virginia Beer Co.'s second collaboration, and first in the Virginia market, alongside Alewerks Brewing Co. This was the third iteration of the festival, coordinated in large part by DoG Street Pub, and if things continue moving in this direction it's safe to say we can look forward to more (and bigger) craft festivals in the future! Check out these articles from The Virginia Gazette & Daily Press:
With two existing breweries, Alewerks Brewing Company and Brass Cannon Brewing Co. (and one in planning, of course!); a winery, The Williamsburg Winery; two distilleries, Copper Fox Distillery and The Williamsburg Distillery; and a new meadery, Silver Hand Meadery, Williamsburg will soon have liquid craft for all to enjoy!
This calls for a celebration. Come out to Alewerks on Thursday, 8/6 starting at 5 pm to celebrate Williamsburg's craft scene and National IPA Day with a pint of our Williamsburg collaboration Red Rye IPA!
We here at The Virginia Beer Company are pretty stoked for Sunday's upcoming Whistle Belly festival here in Williamsburg. Beyond this shaping up to be an epic Virginia beer (and more!) event, it will also mark the debut of our second collaboration, and our very first in Virginia - a Red Rye IPA brewed with/at Alewerks Brewing Company! Our friends in the press have picked up on the story of Williamsburg's hometown brewery and Williamsburg's newest brewery coming together to celebrate craft beer in Williamsburg & Virginia. Read more about how this all came together, and join us on 8/2 to be some of the very first to try this new brew!
- The Virginia Gazette: Williamsburg area's Alewerks Brewing teams up with new startup brewer on IPA
- Daily Press: Williamsburg area's Alewerks Brewing teams up with new startup brewer on IPA
"'We're excited and honored to debut the collected efforts of Geoff Logan and Jonathan Newman at Whistle Belly,' says Michael Claar, DoG Street Pub General Manager and Whistle Belly festival organizer. 'This is a long awaited peek at what's in store from The Virginia Beer Company, who has been building anticipation from this community for a while.'"
"[Virginia Beer Co. Co-Founder Robby] Willey said Alewerks had been helpful and offered insights into the industry as Willey and co-founder Chris Smith prepare for a fall opening of the Virginia Beer Company. Willey said Red Rye IPA was a natural extension of that relationship."
- Ian Brickey, WY Daily Reporter
Vaunted company! We here at The Virginia Beer Co. can't wait to join The Bold Mariner Brewing Company, Coelacanth Brewing, BenchTop Brewing Company, Rip Rap Brewing Co., Wasserhund Brewing Company, The Oozlefinch Craft Brewery, Commonwealth Brewing Company, and Tradition Brewing Company as members of the Hampton Roads Class of 2015.
VEER Magazine: 21 Craft Breweries in Hampton Roads by End of 2015
Along with the great breweries already up & brewing this could lead to one heckuva future HRVA collaboration brew!
Proud to have one of The Virginia Beer Company's co-founders appointed to the City of Williamsburg, Virginia EDA. Starting & growing a business is hard work and we look forward to supporting other businesses in their endeavors to do so in and around the Williamsburg community! Yes Williamsburg, indeed!
We had the pleasure of attending a Visit Williamsburg (VA) event in New York City earlier this week. It was a wonderful occasion to discuss the many awesome things happening in Williamsburg, from the history to the amusement parks to the food and drink. It was a well-timed event, because soon after Yahoo! Travel dropped the gauntlet for the Williamsburg smackdown: Willilamsburg, VA vs. Williamsburg, NY. We may be partial...
"As with its Brooklyn counterpart, it’s all about hops here, too. AleWerks hosts brewery tours and features beer from a 17th-century recipe you can sip at reopened Chowning’s Tavern in the Colonial part of the town.
And while Virginia is becoming well-known in the region for its plentiful wineries, including the picnic-ready Williamsburg Winery, breweries are making their stamp, too. Both the [The] Virginia Beer Company and the Williamsburg Distillery are set to open later this year."
So much going on in Williamsburg, VA! While we clearly have our loyalties, any time we're mentioned in the same breath as AleWerks Brewing and the The Brooklyn Brewery, we're more than happy to continue researching the match-up. And hey, if the end result is a bearded Thomas Jefferson wearing a flannel tricorne hat, we'll drink to that!