Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's official! Virginia now has more than 100 breweries.

Hot off the presses, well, keyboards, from our friends at the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild: There now are more than one-hundred 'craft' breweries operating in the state of Virginia.

Release Date: January 21, 2015

RICHMOND, VA –The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild announced today that the Commonwealth is now home to over 100 craft breweries. This important milestone was celebrated at the Guild’s annual meeting and Craft Beer Caucus legislative reception, attended by over 150 brewers and legislators from around the Commonwealth.

“100 craft breweries is a huge milestone for Virginia,” said Cassidy Rasnick of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, an affiliate of the Virginia Manufacturers Association. “We have seen exponential growth in the last few years, not only in the number of craft breweries, but also in the quality of the beer being produced and the cooperation and collaboration in the industry.”

The number of craft breweries is calculated from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s report on brewery licensees, available on their website.

Growth of the craft beer industry has exploded in the last few years. The Guild attributes some of the growth to the passage of SB 604 in 2012. The legislation, also known as the tasting room bill and sponsored by Senator Jeffrey McWaters and Delegate Jennifer McClellan, allowed breweries to sell their products for on-premise consumption. Since the law went into effect in 2012, the number of craft breweries in the Commonwealth has more than doubled. The craft beer industry now supports over 8,000 jobs in the Commonwealth and has a $623 million economic impact on the state.

The 100th craft brewery licensed in Virginia is Garden Grove Brewing Company, expected to open in Richmond in February.

“We are extremely excited to be opening the 100th craft brewery in the Commonwealth,” said Ryan Mitchell, owner of Garden Grove Brewing Company. “We can’t wait to share our unique and unforgettable line up of beers.”

  • The Brewers Association (BA) —a national advocacy group for 'craft' breweries— defines 'craft' as:
    • Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.
    • Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
    • Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients [emphasis mine] and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.
  • According to the BA, there are thirteen other states in the U.S. with at least 100 breweries within their borders: in order, California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio.

  • More about the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild.
    • The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild is a coalition of independent, small, commercial breweries dedicated to growing the craft beer industry in the Commonwealth. Virginia’s craft beer industry supports 8,163 FTE jobs, and has an economic impact of $623 million. Virginia Craft Brewers Guild is an affiliate of the Virginia Manufacturers Association. The purpose of the Guild is to organize craft brewers for purposes of economic development, business development, supply chain management, tourism and government affairs. For more information on the Guild, go to
    • The current chair of the Guild is Mark Thompson, founder of Starr Hill Brewery, in Crozet, Virginia. Mike Killelea, brewer at Center of the Universe Brewing, in Ashland, Virginia, was the Guild's first chairman, in 2010.

    • The Virginia ABC maintains a public list of all in-state brewery licenses, whether or not a brewery has begun to brew or opened to the public. See that list: here.
    • YFGF has a list of breweries that maintain Twitter accounts. See that: here.
    • The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild has not published a brewery list at its website.

  • Why special attention given to Virginia? The mid-Atlantic region of Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, is the home base of operations for YFGF, this blog.

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