Small towns across the US—often defined by their past and reeling from the fallout of lost jobs and dwindling populations—are turning to a decidedly trending industry to help guide their future: beer. We look at three recent examples.
In states with farm brewery licenses, adding a brewery gives farmers the ability to use their crops in a product that they can sell directly to consumers, thus creating a new revenue stream, bringing tourism to the farm and forging a sense of community.
Whether your trail beer is found at a pub in the Smoky Mountains, a brewery in New England, or in a “trail magic” cooler stowed in the woods by a kind, empathetic soul, beer is part of Appalachian Trail culture.
Flying Dog plans to establish Farmworks, a brewery focusing on unique, small-batch brews, in Lucketts, Va. The brewhouse will include a coolship, a barrel aging and souring facility, a cellar and a tasting room and hospitality area.
Of the 836 new breweries that opened between 2010 and 2013, approximately 350 will close by 2016. It’s a shocking number that makes sense after asking the people behind recently shuttered breweries about the challenges they faced.
At The Birch, the colorful chalkboard tap list incorporates Virginia breweries like Champion and Smartmouth alongside national mainstays like Allagash and Left Hand while its website advertises a specialization in “craft artisanal European crazy hard to say beer and cheese.”
Basecamp. Outpost. Those are the two halves of Devils Backbone Brewing Co., one of Virginia’s fastest-growing beermakers. And in their short life span, Devils Backbone’s two brewhouses have garnered 23 medals at the Great American Beer Festival and five more in the World Beer Cup competition.
A good brewery is aware of the atmosphere it’s creating. They don’t just want you to stop in and check it off your list; they want you to hang around, ask questions, bring friends. In essence, it’s all about community-building.
Hardywood Park’s founders, a pair of Northeastern transplants, were blown away by Richmond’s thirst for experimentation, and set up shop there; they landed in an unproven market, opened a brewery focusing on Belgian ales, big Stouts and unique IPAs, and can’t push enough product out the door.
With a few loans and the support of a community that was clamoring for a local brewery, the Port City team took over an old warehouse just outside the nation’s capital to build one of the DC area’s most successful breweries.
Chicago’s Baderbräu Pilsner resurrected after 10 years; Wyoming breweries collaborate on official state beer; Molson Coors purchase of StarBev approved by EEC; and new legislation in Alabama, New York and Virginia.
AB-InBev and MillerCoors want a piece of the apple cider pie; CAMRA Vancouver FUSS-ing over standardized pours; Belgium celebrates Trappist breweries; Oglala Sioux tribe suing brewers, wholesalers, retailers; and Virginia, Mississippi attempting to pass brew-friendly laws.