Richmond brewery brings the strange to Fredericksburg

The team from Strangeways Brewing Company. From right, business developer Lars Zachariasse, head brewer Mike Miller and founder Neil Burton. Far left, Chris Holder from Capital Ale House in Richmond.

The team from Strangeways Brewing Company. From right, business developer Lars Zachariasse, head brewer Mike Miller and founder Neil Burton. Far left, Chris Holder from Capital Ale House in Richmond.

It’s beginning to come full circle for Neil Burton.

After successfully launching Strangeways Brewing in Richmond back in 2013, Burton is ready to take the brewery to where it all began for him: Fredericksburg.

Strangeways is set to open a new $2.5 million production brewery and taproom in the growing city wedged between thirsty metros Richmond and Northern Virginia.

“It’s something that we’ve been looking to do for about two and a half years,” Burton said. “And we secured what we think is the perfect location for it.”

The 10,100-square-foot site – 350 Lansdowne Road in Fredericksburg – is no run-of-the-mill industrial site.

For Burton, it’s where his foray into business began with his father.

“It’s actually the building we used to run our chain of seven clothing stores from,” Burton said of his father’s 45-year-old clothing store called Scotsman, later called RVA Garment Zone. “My father used to have his offices in the basement, and after he built the location in the 1980s, we were able to expand the business.”

Located on 3 acres near the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds, the site is planned to include a 10-barrel brewhouse, a large taproom, live event space, private event space, retail shop, arcade and outdoor beer garden.

“The brewhouse is about half the size of the Richmond system,” Burton said, referring to Strangeways’ Henrico County home at 2277 Dabney Road, which will remain open. “Having the production facility in Fredericksburg allows us quicker market access into Northern Virginia.”

The new satellite location is slated to open in the first half of 2017 and create 27 jobs.

While Burton’s company will shoulder much of the expansion costs, Strangeways will be getting some help from the state.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $150,000 grant for the project from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which Fredericksburg will match with local funds.

The Fredericksburg Strangeways location will have 50 draft beers on tap, Burton said. The brewery will also work with local restaurants in the area to provide light snacks, locally sourced charcuterie, and entrees and appetizers for patrons to order for delivery to the taproom.

Strangeways adds to a growing trend of local breweries and some of their peers around the state adding satellite production facilities and taprooms.

Ashland-based Center of the Universe Brewing Company broke ground this summer on its new Origin Beer Lab at 106 S. Railroad Ave. in downtown Ashland.

Charlottesville-based Three Notch’d Brewing Co. recently opened its 4,000-square-foot tasting room and production site on the southern border of Scott’s Addition at 2930 W. Broad St.

And its Charlottesville neighbor, Champion Brewing, is adding a new location in downtown Richmond.

Burton said opening a second production facility has always been part of the plan, but finding the perfect location for the operation was the key.

“We’ve learned that our tasting room is an integral part of effectively sharing the Strangeways story, which then translates to demand for our products at our retail partner accounts,” Burton said. “This is a blueprint we hope to emulate in Fredericksburg.”

Strangeways will be in good company, as Fredericksburg has given way to a number of new breweries, including Red Dragon Brewery, Spencer Devon Brewing and Highmark Brewing in nearby Stafford County.

“These are some fantastic breweries,” Burton said. “We’re excited to add to the scene up there with our original brews, and put our own flavor on Fredericksburg.”

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