Intermission Beer Co. is adding to its repertoire.
The 5-year-old brewery near Virginia Center Commons recently received approval for a restaurant license from the ABC to allow it to add wine and cider to its menu.
“It’s just surprising, a lot of people that come to a brewery don’t necessarily want beer,” said owner Courtney White. “We can give everybody an option.”
While the brewery’s beers are produced in-house by White’s husband, Justin, the two do not have plans to begin making their own wine and cider. Instead, Intermission continues to work with distributor Pretty Ugly Distribution to explore different cider choices.
The wine is distributed by Republic National Distributing Co. The brewery’s menu already lists the Floriography Blooming Red Wine, as well as the Blooming White Wine of the same, South African, style.
White described the license as a natural next step, part of a greater expansion effort the brewery has been conducting ahead of its five-year anniversary on Sept. 1.
It invested in a new stacked, three-barrel brewery system for beer and also purchased staple kitchen appliances and a Turbochef Fire Pizza Oven, firing up the potential for a food service that was improbable beforehand.
White describes the turn to food as a way to handle pandemic pressures. She said that they gave food trucks a go in March of last year, but chose to abandon that strategy after finding that they were hard to work with.
“They were either unreliable or they ran out of food or just situations happened,” she said. “We had to take on food ourselves. So, we’ve been doing pizzas with Billy Pie and then pretzels as well.”
Renovations have also focused on shifting Intermission’s 2,300-square-foot space with what White described as a sleeker aesthetic and adding bench seating as well as a new bar.
“We actually wanted to do a bar before COVID. Thankfully, we didn’t,” she said, citing how pandemic regulation would have prohibited guests from using it.
The pandemic shut Intermission down for a few months, White said, and reduced distribution possibilities. To manage, the brewery changed its business model by providing to-go beer.
But COVID did not halt the company’s growth altogether, as it added new fermenters in May of 2020 and an upgraded canning line that helped automate its processes. To fund the recent renovations and equipment, White estimates a self-funded investment of around $20,000. As of last year, Intermission is debt-free.
Prior to the pandemic, Intermission was supplying bars in areas such as Henrico, Short Pump and Ashland. Since then, its deal with Pretty Ugly Distribution has shipped its brews to other Virginia regions, such as to the Hampton Roads area.
Intermission continues to see some economic strain, mostly the prices of grain and aluminum cans that the brewery uses for canning.
“Every time we turn around, we get an email saying the price is going up,” she said. “That has affected us, but our regulars keep coming back and they keep us in business.”
Looking forward to the brewery’s fifth anniversary next month, White said they’re planning a month-long celebration with a few surprises in the works and a central theme of woman-brewed beer, given that both Intermission and Pretty Ugly Distribution are woman-owned.
Intermission is the latest local booze purveyor to expand its offerings. Bryant’s Dry Cider in Shockoe Bottom recently added an in-house brewery.