Richmond’s beer boom is getting a big shot in the arm.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe formally announced today that California-based Stone Brewing Co. will bring its highly coveted East Coast brewery operation to Richmond’s East End.
Stone will build its 130,000-square-foot brewery, restaurant and retail outfit on a 12-acre site at Williamsburg Avenue and Nicholson Street near Rocketts Landing.
The governor, Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Stone executives toasted the announcement with ceremonial pints before a large crowd on the steps of the executive mansion.
Stone plans to begin site work on the brewery in November and construction in January in hopes of beginning brewing at the facility in early 2016. It would look to open the retail operation around that time and the restaurant will open in a later phase.
With a code name at city hall of “Project Gogi,” landing Stone was a highly competitive economic development project sought after by multiple cities up and down the East Coast. Stone expects revenue at its East Coast site to exceed $100 million in its fourth year and eventually reach hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
Stone co-founder Steve Wagner said logistics played into the company’s decision to choose Richmond.
“Logistically, (Richmond) definitely won out over Norfolk. It’s just a little bit better access to our bigger markets up north and in the Northeast,” Wagner said at today’s event.
The company said it will invest $74 million to construct its facility. The brewery, which will pump out in excess of 100,000 barrels each year, will also be staffed entirely with local employees, Stone says.
But the city and state will have to pony up for the privilege of hosting Stone Brewing. The project will receive $5 million from the governor’s opportunity fund, up to $250,000 from the governor’s agriculture and forestry industries development fund, the Virginia Enterprise Zone program and the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
A package of city incentives for Stone will be introduced at Monday’s City Council meeting.
Richmond won out over finalists Norfolk and Columbus, Ohio, but media reports had Stone looking at cities including Philadelphia, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Roanoke among others before whittling the list down to three earlier this year.
Stone also had at least two site options in Richmond. Local developer Thalhimer Realty Partners applied for a special use permit that would have allowed the company to open up shop at Reynolds South, just a short walk from Legend Brewery.
Stone is a major player in the national craft beer market. The company said it produced 213,000 barrels of beer last year, making it the 10th-largest craft brewery in the country.
Stone’s decision to come to Richmond was first reported on Wednesday ahead of the governor’s announcement by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Stay tuned to BizSense tomorrow morning for more on this story.