The year in beer (and booze): 2016

A toast, Richmond, for yet another year of brimming booze news that is sure to spill over into the New Year.

There was no shortage of brewery growth in the market during 2016 from brewing operations large and small.

One of the most celebrated additions to the brewing scene this year was the opening of Stone Brewing’s East Coast operation in the Fulton neighborhood.

California-based Stone, for which the city rolled out a broad incentive package, opened its massive 200,000 square foot production and distribution facility at 4300 Williamsburg Ave. in February.

The company is also working with the city economic development authority to transform the former Intermediate Terminal site at 3101 Wharf St. into it owns into Stone World Bistro & Gardens – the company’s signature restaurant and taproom. Its plans may someday include a hotel nearby, which Stone officials are neither confirming nor leaving off the table.

A rendering of the Uncommon development. (Courtesy Hardywood)

A rendering of the Uncommon development. (Courtesy Hardywood)

Work is underway on Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s $28 million, 60,000-square-foot packaging and brewing facility in West Creek in Goochland County. Hardywood is also preparing to open its new 3,500-square-foot Charlottesville taproom.

Meanwhile, a pair of Wahoo-country brewers found their way into the Richmond market this year.

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 the former Aurora Restaurant at 401 E. Grace St. downtown.

Continuing Scott’s Addition streak of luring breweries, local restaurateurs Jay Shah and Joel Gilbert plan to convert the former SunTrust branch at 3022 W. Broad St. into Statement Brewing Company.

A few blocks north in Scott’s Addition, Väsen Brewing Co., founded by cousins Joey Darragh and Tony Giordano is getting closer to opening in 17,000 square feet in the HandCraft building at 3331 W. Moore St. sometime in 2017.

Nathan Winters, chief of marketing (left) and Joey Darragh, co-founder, stand in Vasen Brewing Company's under-construction brewery in the HandCraft building in Scott's Addition. (J. Elias O'Neal)

Nathan Winters, chief of marketing (left) and Joey Darragh, co-founder, stand in Vasen Brewing Company’s under-construction brewery in the HandCraft building in Scott’s Addition. (J. Elias O’Neal)

Back in West Creek, Kindred Spirit Brewing opened its doors in August at 12830 West Creek Parkway, becoming the third brewery to set up shop in Goochland County.

One of the 2016 trends was fueled by established breweries opening satellite locations in their home markets and beyond.

Legend Brewing Co., one of the few longtime players in the industry here, announced plans in October to open a small brewery and taproom in the Olde Towne section of Portsmouth.

The new outpost will take shape in 4,300 square feet on the ground floor of the Seaboard Coastline Building at 1 High St., which is owned by an affiliate of the Monument Cos., a Richmond-based developer.

Meanwhile, Henrico-based Strangeways Brewing is pouring $2.5 million into a 10,000-square-foot satellite production brewery in Fredericksburg.

Center of the Universe Brewing branched out in its hometown with the opening last month of its Origin Beer Lab at 106 S. Railroad Ave. in downtown Ashland.

Triple Crossing Brewing opened its new outpost in December at 5203 Hatcher St. in the Fulton neighborhood. (J. Elias O'Neal)

Triple Crossing Brewing opened its new outpost in December at 5203 Hatcher St. in the Fulton neighborhood. (J. Elias O’Neal)

And in a big step up from its original 2,800-square-foot location downtown, Triple Crossing Brewing this month opened its new 30,000-square-foot taproom and production facility at 5203 Hatcher St. in Fulton.

Breweries weren’t the only booze makers to make moves in Richmond in 2016.

Buskey Cider invested $30,000 to install three new 1,860-gallon fermenting tanks at its 7,500-square-foot Scott’s Addition cider-making facility at 2901 W. Leigh St. Each new tank would produce about 888 cases of 12-ounce cans of hard cider, and allow the company to sell its hard cider throughout Richmond and beyond.

Buskey is joined in Scott’s Addition by local rival Blue Bee Cider, which moved out of Manchester to open a 9,000-square-foot facility at 1320 Summitt Ave. this fall.

Changes to state alcohol laws are allowing some local whiskey and vodka distilleries to open new tasting rooms, including Reservoir Distillery and Cirrus Vodka.

Moonshine maker Belle Isle Craft Spirits, which operates a facility at 615 Maury St. in the Manchester neighborhood, is also planning a taproom for its flavorful spirits.

Click here to learn more about the business of booze in Richmond by catching up on some BizSense’s coverage of the industry.

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3 Comments on "The year in beer (and booze): 2016"

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Ethan D Lindbloom

Notably omitted from this article: The Veil. Considering the popularity of their can on release days and their growing reputation, they really elevated the beer scene in Richmond in 2016.

Mark Hamrick

Good call, Ethan. While these other breweries are doing nice work, The Veil is putting Richmond on the map nationally with their top notch IPAs (see the demand for anything Veil on the beer trading markets).

Additionally – shout out to (another snub here) Steam Bell to have the guts to open out in the Midlothian area. Sounds like a successful move in a rapidly growing area.

Kirk Candler

I’m not sure if the Petersburg area is ever covered in RichmondBiz, but Trapezium and Ammo opened here in 2016. Amazing things happening here just south of RVA.