Brewery is close to licking its yearlong wait

Lickinghole’s 4,100-square-foot brewery evokes a Virginia-style horse farm. (Photos courtesy of Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery)

Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery’s 4,100-square-foot building. (Photos courtesy of Lickinghole)

A year after planting hops at his 200-acre farm, Sean-Thomas Pumphrey is almost ready to pour his first pints at Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery.

“We literally built this from the ground up,” Pumphrey said. “I swear, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel finally.”

Pumphrey launched Lickinghole last year at his Goochland County farm. With construction on the 20-barrel brewhouse in the homestretch and some red tape still left to cut, he hopes to start brewing in early August.

Lickinghole’s brewery measures about 4,100 square feet. It evokes a Virginia-style horse farm and will include a small tasting room open to the public, Pumphrey said.

In another big step, Pumphrey said the brewery recently signed on with Richmond-based Brown Distributing. He hopes his first batches of beer will be in bars, stores and restaurants by the end of August or early September.

Lickinghole's 20-barrel brewhouse.

Lickinghole’s 20-barrel brewhouse.

Landing Lickinghole is another victory for Brown in the race to distribute a growing field of more than 60 Virginia breweries. In the Richmond area, Brown has deals with Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Legend Brewing Co., Midnight Brewery, Center of the Universe Brewing Co. and Strangeways Brewing.

“We believe strongly in putting out new, up-and-coming local craft breweries,” said Stephen Tuzeneu, Brown’s Virginia brand development manager. “It’s all about supporting the local economy, building local jobs.”

Brown’s local rival Loveland Distributing this month added Norfolk’s Smartmouth Brewing Co. and also distributes Nelson County’s Wild Wolf Brewing Co. and Ashburn-based Lost Rhino. Specialty Beverage of Virginia, in Rockville, boasts at least three Virginia-based brands with Blue Mountain, St. George and Parkway brewing companies.

Several craft breweries have sprouted since Pumphrey planted his first row of hops. He said his farm brewery concept will make Lickinghole stand out from the competition.

In addition to about two acres of hops, Pumphrey is also growing pumpkins for an upcoming pumpkin ale, as well blueberries and blackberries, which need another year or so to mature before being rolled into new brews.

“There’s not very many breweries like us anywhere,” he said. “We’re not just another brewery in an industrial park.”

Lickinghole is named after a creek near the farm. The brand’s first beer, Magic Beaver Belgian Style Pale Ale, is named after a second nearby body of water: Little Magic Beaver Pond. A Short Pump Saison Virginia Farmhouse Ale and a Three Chopt Tripel are also in the works. Lickinghole will be available on draft and in 750-mL bottles.

Pumphrey said it took a little longer than he had hoped to get the brewery going. He told BizSense last summer that he hoped to start brewing by early 2013. But as Pumphrey closes in on brewing his first batch, he said the half-year delay wasn’t all bad.

“Time is money. It’s taken more time, so it’s cost more money to get it going,” he said. “But it’s also allowed us to fine-tune our business plan.”

The brewery has about two acres of hops at its disposal.

The brewery has about two acres of hops at its disposal.

Lickinghole’s 4,100-square-foot brewery evokes a Virginia-style horse farm. (Photos courtesy of Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery)

Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery’s 4,100-square-foot building. (Photos courtesy of Lickinghole)

A year after planting hops at his 200-acre farm, Sean-Thomas Pumphrey is almost ready to pour his first pints at Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery.

“We literally built this from the ground up,” Pumphrey said. “I swear, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel finally.”

Pumphrey launched Lickinghole last year at his Goochland County farm. With construction on the 20-barrel brewhouse in the homestretch and some red tape still left to cut, he hopes to start brewing in early August.

Lickinghole’s brewery measures about 4,100 square feet. It evokes a Virginia-style horse farm and will include a small tasting room open to the public, Pumphrey said.

In another big step, Pumphrey said the brewery recently signed on with Richmond-based Brown Distributing. He hopes his first batches of beer will be in bars, stores and restaurants by the end of August or early September.

Lickinghole's 20-barrel brewhouse.

Lickinghole’s 20-barrel brewhouse.

Landing Lickinghole is another victory for Brown in the race to distribute a growing field of more than 60 Virginia breweries. In the Richmond area, Brown has deals with Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Legend Brewing Co., Midnight Brewery, Center of the Universe Brewing Co. and Strangeways Brewing.

“We believe strongly in putting out new, up-and-coming local craft breweries,” said Stephen Tuzeneu, Brown’s Virginia brand development manager. “It’s all about supporting the local economy, building local jobs.”

Brown’s local rival Loveland Distributing this month added Norfolk’s Smartmouth Brewing Co. and also distributes Nelson County’s Wild Wolf Brewing Co. and Ashburn-based Lost Rhino. Specialty Beverage of Virginia, in Rockville, boasts at least three Virginia-based brands with Blue Mountain, St. George and Parkway brewing companies.

Several craft breweries have sprouted since Pumphrey planted his first row of hops. He said his farm brewery concept will make Lickinghole stand out from the competition.

In addition to about two acres of hops, Pumphrey is also growing pumpkins for an upcoming pumpkin ale, as well blueberries and blackberries, which need another year or so to mature before being rolled into new brews.

“There’s not very many breweries like us anywhere,” he said. “We’re not just another brewery in an industrial park.”

Lickinghole is named after a creek near the farm. The brand’s first beer, Magic Beaver Belgian Style Pale Ale, is named after a second nearby body of water: Little Magic Beaver Pond. A Short Pump Saison Virginia Farmhouse Ale and a Three Chopt Tripel are also in the works. Lickinghole will be available on draft and in 750-mL bottles.

Pumphrey said it took a little longer than he had hoped to get the brewery going. He told BizSense last summer that he hoped to start brewing by early 2013. But as Pumphrey closes in on brewing his first batch, he said the half-year delay wasn’t all bad.

“Time is money. It’s taken more time, so it’s cost more money to get it going,” he said. “But it’s also allowed us to fine-tune our business plan.”

The brewery has about two acres of hops at its disposal.

The brewery has about two acres of hops at its disposal.

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Mary Gould
Mary Gould
9 years ago

Do I detect a little snobbery about not being in an office park? Don’t kid yourself people go to breweries in office parks because the beer is good. As of right now the verdict is out on yours.

Amy R
Amy R
9 years ago
Reply to  Mary Gould

Mary –

Office parks and INDUSTRIAL parks are very different. Perhaps you should reread the story and get your facts straight before you fire off at the mouth. Yes, the beer is good at breweries in INDUSTRIAL parks, but often, you risk your life getting there.

Best of luck Lickinghole! It looks like you’ve done an amazing job creating a great place to relax and enjoy beer. I am looking forward to visiting.

John Smith
John Smith
9 years ago

Yeah, you’re not located in an industrial park… you’re located in a rural, private subdivision that you are now opening up to the public against the wishes of all of your neighbors. That makes you so much classier.

Nick H
Nick H
9 years ago
Reply to  John Smith

Are you one of these neighbors “John Smith”? If so maybe you can enlighen us on this “private subdivision” of which you speak. You should probably do some research before you start complaining on the internet. http://www.richmondbizsense.com/2012/07/16/brewery-hopes-to-fill-a-hole-in-the-market/ “Founder Sean-Thomas Pumphrey is working to get the brewery up and running on his family’s 221-acre farm.” “Lickinghole won’t be open to the public on a regular basis, even though Virginia laws now allow a brewery to serve for consumption on site, a decision Pumphrey attributes to the brewery’s rural location. “We have to be respectful to our neighbors,” he said. He’ll look… Read more »

jd
jd
9 years ago

The beer wars begin! Let’s all chant “Taste Great – Less Filling!”

Mike Jasp
Mike Jasp
9 years ago

Mr. Pumphrey, you haven’t served your first pint yet and you’ve managed to stick it to, intentional or not, local favorites such as Legend and Hardywood. Maybe in farming PR and communication is not so important. You are about to shop your products to a very different demographic, maybe its time to hire a PR guy(or gal) if this type of rhetoric roles off your tongue regularly. Hopefully it’s just a fluke, but I could immediately think of a dozen different ways you could have made your point (you grow your own on site). Hopefully your beer taste better than… Read more »

Sean-Thomas Pumphrey
Sean-Thomas Pumphrey
9 years ago

Mike and Mary, thank you for the critique. It’s more than fair. The question had to do with how Lickinghole Creek differentiates itself from the rest of the many new breweries that are opening currently. Obviously our location is a big part of it. I in no way, shape or form intimated or think for that matter that our location makes us better, it simply makes us different. I am a huge craft beer fan, hence my chosen profession, and love the products coming from the breweries you mentioned. I’ll choose my words better in the future. Cheers!

Mike Jasp
Mike Jasp
9 years ago

Solid reply, thats not easy to do. Looking foward to another addition to RVA’s growing list of home town brews. Colorado? Where’s that? Never heard of it.

Mary Gould
Mary Gould
9 years ago

Amy,
I did not fire off at the mouth. I am just not as eloquent as Mike Jasp. Cheers!

Robert Sell
Robert Sell
9 years ago

Geeez folks, lighten up a bit…

I recommend we all get together at the brewery when it does open and add a toast the only “growing” industry in Viginia over the past couple of years!

Kudos to every micro-brewer with the guts to go out on their own and take the enormous financial risk in this endeavor!

Cheers!

J Turner
J Turner
9 years ago

I don’t know who “John Smith” is, but I am a neighbor and this is my real name. I have nothing to hide. The brewery is indeed located in a private subdivision and is accessed by a common private road. I actually reside there, unlike the Pumphreys. The “221 acre farm” consists of four lots that Mr. Pumphrey’s wife and mother-in-law (both Reynolds family members) own in a large lot private subdivision. The previous comment refers to an earlier article which said that the brewery would NOT be open to the public on a regular basis. This turned out to… Read more »

Shelley Johnson
Shelley Johnson
9 years ago

Nick H – you will pass right in front of my house at the entrance of the cul-de-sac of the Knolls Point subdivision. I am afraid you may not have your facts correct. I am a neighbor who would have loved to meet a young entrepreneur who will undoubtedly have an impact on local business and the micro-brew industry. However, Mr Pumphrey has not done a stellar job of reaching out to do basic neighborly greetings, aka Marketing. I do not know what he looks like but I do know what his vehicle looks like. I do know I have… Read more »

Cheri Biggers
Cheri Biggers
9 years ago

I am also one of the neighbors Nick H. And he may own a 200+ acre farm, but the only access to it is directly through the cul de sac of a small private rural neighborhood. For months I’ve endured traffic from trucks, heavy equipment, workers, as they fly down the gravel road leading to the farm. Just last night I witnessed what appeared to be Mr. Pumphrey himself as he increased his speed as he hit the gravel…then he increased it again as he rounded the blind curve. At no time during this whole process has anyone from the… Read more »

Charles
Charles
9 years ago

What kind of hops is he growing? That seems pretty cool.