After a somewhat quiet news year in 2021, this year the local booze industry was back to its usually busy self.
Here are some highlights:
Openings and closures
Two local booze purveyors shut down in 2022, as Canon & Draw Brewing Co. closed over the summer after four years in the Fan, and James River Distillery closed after nine years of making gin, vodka and other liquor near The Diamond.
Several local establishments added new types of booze to their menus in 2022. Three Leg Run opened in Chester offering beer, wine and mead. Bryant’s Dry Cider installed a brewing operation to its Shockoe Bottom taproom. Intermission Beer Co. added wine and cider to its menu. And Everleigh Vineyards and Brewing Co. opened in Louisa, pouring both wine and beer.
The satellite taproom approach continued to be utilized in and outside of Richmond during the year. Norfolk-based Benchtop Brewing Co. opened a Manchester taproom along Hull Street; Richmond’s Strangeways Brewing opened its fourth taproom, this time in Williamsburg; and Charlottesville’s Three Notch’d Brewing Co. nearly doubled its footprint in Scott’s Addition.
However, Legend Brewing Co. shuttered its Portsmouth taproom.
A massive national deal that had an impact on the local brewery scene was Sapporo’s acquisition of Stone Brewing Co. The $168 million deal gave the Japanese brewing conglomerate control of Stone’s Fulton production facility.
A pair of cideries struck deals in Scott’s Addition, as Buskey Cider bought its West Leigh Street facility, while Blue Bee Cider recently sold its complex in the neighborhood for $2.9 million.
Down in Prince George, the owners of Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers bought the former Jordan Point Golf Club and are planning to breathe new life into the waterfront property.
Cans and burgers
In the fast-growing canned wine and spirits sector, Fore Craft Cocktails inked distribution deals that are bringing its golf-themed cans of spirits outside of Virginia, and Steely Can Wine, a side gig from yacht rock cover band Three Sheets To The Wind, had its canned wine hit shelves.
And in Scott’s Addition, Ardent Craft Ales and ZZQ teamed up to turn a storage garage between the two businesses into Eazzy Burger.
New one to watch for
WayGone Brewery is in the works along Patterson Avenue in Henrico and plans to open in 2023.