Toast of the town

Virginia’s ever-expanding craft beer economy was on display in Denver last week at the Great American Beer Festival.

Brown Distributing, which has operations in Richmond and Florida and has been rapidly growing its Virginia craft beer portfolio, was named Craft Beer Distributor of the Year.

The award was given by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the Brewers Association and recognizes the distributor who does the most to market, promote and sell craft beer.

Brown was recognized at least in part, according to the NBWA and the Brewers Association, for its growth of craft beer distribution at its Florida operations, which are run out of West Palm Beach.

According to the NBWA, Brown distributes the beers of 64 craft breweries to almost 4,000 retail accounts across Florida.  Over the past 12 months, Brown has grown its craft beer sales there by 76 percent, according to the NBWA. It did not list details of Brown’s craft beer sales in Virginia.

Devils Backbone, based in Nelson County, Va., just southwest of Charlottesville, cleaned up at the awards.

In addition to being named Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year, Devils Backbone beers won awards in eight categories. Its winning beers included its Gold Leaf Lager, Vienna Lager, Old Virginia Dark, Turbo Cougar and others.

Devils Backbone began distribution in Richmond this year after Brown picked it up.

Other Virginia breweries taking home awards at this year’s event included Mad Fox Brewing Co. in Falls Church, Port City Brewing in Alexandria and Blue Mountain Barrel House in Arrington, Va.

Award-winning out-of-state brews that can be found in Richmond included selections from Twisted Pine Brewing Co. of Colorado and Kona Brewing Co. of Hawaii.

A list of all the winners at the Great American Beer Festival can be found here.

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