WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia – On the cusp of its first anniversary, The Virginia Beer Company was recently recognized as one of the top new breweries in the country by BeerAdvocate magazine. As part of BeerAdvocate’s annual “Class Of” honors, 34 breweries out of the 861 new breweries that opened across the country in 2016 were selected as the best in their class. Virginia Beer Co. was one of two Virginia breweries selected for last year’s honors.
We are very pleased to announce that 401 Second Street, the future home of The Virginia Beer Company, is an active construction zone! In mid-August, we received final word from the Virginia Department of Transportation, the City of Williamsburg, and York County that we had been granted the necessary permits in order to move forward with our site work and buildout at the property. Late last month we met with our general contractor to review the final pricing plan for the buildout and sitework. We signed our final construction contract on August 24th and before the month was out, the survey crews were on site at 401!
We have reviewed the formal scope of our buildout in detail with our project manager, and have scheduled in-person updates with him and his team to be held at the building every other week. In addition there is a project foreman who is on site every day. Chris, Jonathan and I meet with the foreman every morning to discuss the previous day’s results and the current day’s goals. In addition we use our time on the premises to meet with sub-contractors (e.g., electrical, plumbing) to discuss measurements, equipment, and to review architectural plans. The VBC team is committed to ensuring there is at least one point person on site every day with the contractors to ensure questions are answered in real time so no needless delays are caused between the brewing side and the construction side.
We are now working with two master schedules. The first, focused on our site work, runs from September through mid-November. Three weeks in we have already seen all the pavement around the property stripped. As of today the crews were beginning to level the future parking & beer garden surfaces. All exterior retaining walls and rip rap have been removed and the teams are beginning to place foundations for the future fencing and walls going up around the site’s perimeter. In October we will turn our attention to outside plumbing extensions including a separator installation (to collect solids from the brewing process before they enter the sewage system) and storm drainage tie-ins. We will also look ahead to exterior lighting plans.
The additional schedule is focused on the site’s overall timeline, with a focus on our interior demo and buildout. This plan runs from September through mid-December. Similar to our site work, the interior of 401 Second Street has already been transformed from what was once held in the facility. The interior has been completely gutted – all masonry walls within our main facility have been demolished, as have the walls in what will be the office/lab/restroom/utility space in the one-story side of the building. Old amenities and piping have been removed from the rafters on the ceiling, and most of the old equipment and decorations previously held in the building have been cleared out by the building’s owner. Flooring has been cut for interior plumbing improvements, including our future taproom fixtures, brewing equipment, coolers, and renovated restrooms. In October the team will turn its focus to staging the new interior walls that need to be erected, filling in trenches, treating the floors, and electrical work that will pick up ahead of large equipment arrivals.
We are thrilled to be moving ahead with our plans after an unexpectedly lengthy permitting process. On the heels of our Red Rye IPA collaboration with Alewerks Brewing Co., we are riding a high wave of momentum! We have some great videos of the work going on at our Facebook page, which we invite you to view here. Our Facebook page and Instagram account also feature many additional photos and videos of the progress. We will feature regular updates throughout the buildout, including a time lapse from start to finish as well as before & after photos.
We will continue to post periodic updates on our additional buildout plans and progress. And real time updates will be available across all of our social media platforms. We are working to finalize our opening timeline and will be sure to share that as soon as the time frame is settled. Thank you to everyone for your continued support and enthusiasm for our project!
Now that we have received our site approval, which allows us to OFFICIALLY begin work turning 401 Second Street into The Virginia Beer Company, I thought it would be prudent to take a look back at our site approval process with a focus on how it all began at our initial pre-approval meeting with York County. This was the meeting that formally started the process of establishing the county (and city and state!) review of our proposed construction/operation plans.
Earlier this week I shared a bit about the history of 401 Second Street. Now for a sneak peek at the future of the property! We've officially submitted a site plan to York County in order to receive approval for changes that we want to make to the property. While we cannot share the detailed site plan, below is the original schematic drawing that was completed by our architect, John Hopke of Hopke & Associates, to inform the civil engineer of the intended changes to the property. Some changes have been made since the schematic was completed, but it gives a general idea of what will be changing.
The entire property is going to be refurbished. The parking lot will be repaved, new plantings will be added, and new lighting will be installed. We will be constructing a new concrete pad at the rear of the building to hold our glycol chiller, and we will also be preparing an area for the future installation of grain silos. Most notably, we are making changes to the front of the building that will completely redefine the property.
The section of the property fronting Second Street currently has two entrances and a small parking area directly in front of the building. We will be closing the entrance closer to the Merrimac Trail stoplight and turning the small parking area in front of the building into a 1,400 square foot patio and beer garden. We are even incorporating a food truck pull-in so our customers don't have to leave the patio when hungry! We are incredibly excited to be adding badly-needed outdoor drinking and dining space for all of our future customers!
We met with York County in mid-February for a site plan pre-approval meeting. We are hoping that the feedback received from that meeting and incorporated into the finalized site plan will reduce the approval time from six weeks to four weeks. The sooner we are approved, the sooner our site contractor can begin work at 401 Second Street!