Virginia, you are attracting some pretty impressive craft brewers to the commonwealth, so kudos to you. Stone Brewing Co., Green Flash Brewing Co. and now Deschutes Brewery announced yesterday that it plans to set up East Coast brewing operations in the great mid-Atlantic state (Roanoke specifically). What’s the attraction? Well, Virginia’s culture, location and ultra-friendly brewing business environment for starters.
Here are our five favorite examples of Virginia’s beer intellect:
- Laws incentivizing both brewers and beer-focused businesses — Virginia has tons of pro-craft beer legislation in the works;
- Great education — Virginia Tech recently built its own brewhouse for area brewers to use and experiment;
- Cool local conferences — Virginia keeps pushing local hops with the 2016 South Atlantic Hops Conference;
- Local ingredients — Shadow Farm, a 53-acre farm in Lucketts, Va., and its Lucketts Mill Hopworks are the mid-Atlantic’s first commercial-scale hops production and processing facility; and
- Smart government — We loved how the Virginia Economic Development Partnership actually had a booth at last year’s Craft Brewers Conference.
It’s no wonder Deschutes Brewery announced its much anticipated decision on an East Coast location yesterday at an event in downtown Roanoke, Va. The growing brewery, which was founded in Oregon in 1988 by Gary Fish, has explored hundreds of potential locations in the region over the last two years. Why did Deschutes choose Roanoke? The company says its unique culture and community fits well with Deschutes’ decades-deep roots.
“We started Deschutes Brewery when craft beer wasn’t burgeoning and led with a beer style that wasn’t popular at the time — Black Butte Porter,” said Gary Fish, CEO and founder of the brewery. “This pioneering approach was a key driver behind our decision to go with Roanoke, as that same spirit exists in this community and its fast-growing beer culture.”
The future Roanoke facility has been lovingly dubbed “Brew 4” as it takes its place in line after the original Bend, Ore., public house (Brew 1), the brewery’s production facility in Bend (Brew 2) and the Portland, Ore., public house (Brew 3). Brew 4 will be located at the eastern edge of Roanoke with construction on the site beginning in 2019. Eventually, a little over 100 new jobs will be created for the region, and the new brewery will produce approximately 150,000 barrels (bbls) to start, with a design to increase capacity as needed. Deschutes expects to start shipping beer from the Roanoke location in about five years.
Deschutes Brewery chose to add an East Coast location after the company’s distribution footprint (which currently includes 28 states and the District of Columbia) reached the East Coast. By having a production facility on the eastern seaboard, the brewery will be able to deliver beers — such as its flagship Black Butte Porter — to states east of the Mississippi quickly and more sustainably.
“Roanoke is honored to be chosen as Deschutes Brewery’s East Coast location after a very thorough review of several communities in the Southeast,” said Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill. “It is a company with a strong culture of community engagement, recognized for its craftsmanship and will be a perfect fit for Roanoke’s vibrant outdoor lifestyle. We are thrilled to welcome Deschutes as we continue to build a diverse, resilient economy.”