A local developer and former beer distributor are pushing the boundaries of Richmond’s craft beer scene farther south.
Michael Blevins and Dave McCormack are developing Trapezium Brewery at 420 Third St. in Old Towne Petersburg.
The 30-barrel brew house will take shape in a 15,000-square-foot former ice and coal plant that was built in 1890.
McCormack, who owns development firm Waukeshaw and Demolition Coffee in Petersburg, plans to spend $2.5 million to develop the brewery project with the hope of opening by late 2015. It’s being financed by First Capital Bank and an SBA loan from Crater Redevelopment Corp.
“Petersburg in general is greatly underserved,” McCormack said. “There’s still a large population down here that’s going to support this in a major way.”
McCormack said Waukeshaw has done about $35 million in development in Petersburg since 2008 and has owned the Trapezium property for about five years.
Construction on the brewery is scheduled to begin in April and is expected to take nine months, McCormack said. Haase Inc. is the contractor on the job, and StudioAmmons is the architect. The project will seek historic tax credits.
On the same parcel as the future brewery, McCormack plans to spend $2 million to develop 18 apartments that will break ground right around the same time as the brewery.
“We certainly hope that is a draw for people,” McCormack said of the proximity to the brewery. “For a lot of these old buildings, we have to get creative with the development plan to monetize the square footage.”
McCormack said he got the idea to develop a brewery from Blevins, who worked as a sale manager at local distributor Specialty Beverage for 11 years.
“He just approached me out of the blue,” McCormack said.
After working in the restaurant industry and then in beer distribution, Blevins said opening a brewery of his own seemed like a natural progression.
He said to his knowledge, Trapezium would be Petersburg’s first brewery in more than 80 years.
“I knew Dave (McCormack) had all those properties down there, and I needed a building to put a brewery in,” Blevins said. “Petersburg is up-and-coming. It’s definitely been trying to attract a young, hip, artistic crowd.”
Blevins will run the day-to-day operations at Trapezium. He’s hiring James Frazer as Trepezium’s head brewer.
Frazer is an accomplished home brewer, Blevins said. That skill, combined with Blevins’ knowledge of beer distribution will be an advantage for the new brewery, he said.
“I started in 2001 when no one wanted to buy craft beer,” Blevins said. “My brewer and I have been working on recipes for more than a year.”
Trapezium hasn’t yet signed on with a distributor, and Blevins said the company is focused on getting up and running before thinking about getting his brew on store shelves.
As for the name, Trapezium, Blevins said it is inspired by a building in Petersburg built in 1810.
“The man who built it was led to believe if the house was built without any right angles he could ward off the evil spirits,” Blevins said. “And Dave thought it was a cool word.”
Blevins said he is confident opening a brewery outside of Richmond’s main craft beer scene because beer fans like to travel. Midnight Brewing and Lickinghole Creek have blazed the beer trail locally by opening off the beaten path in Goochland County.
He said he also sees opportunity once Stone Brewing Co. opens its highly anticipated facility in the city.
“All the ships are going to rise with the tide once they come,” Blevins said. “Stone is going to bring a massive amount of beer tourism. People are going to travel from all over the East Coast to visit Stone, and hopefully they’ll visit us too.”