Brewtiful Virginia

The Commonwealth ranks fifth in the nation for beer industry growth.

Photo by Robby Willey

We sure do love our beer. With 206 tasting rooms statewide and counting, Virginians are never too far from a place where they can enjoy their favorite brews—from IPAs and pilsners to more seasonal taps like the pear lager from Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company in Lexington.

According to a recent report from the Chicago-based firm C+R Research, Virginia ranks fifth among the 50 states for beer industry growth since 2015, claiming a 36 percent increase in the number of craft beer options available. 

“Virginia was always on our radar for expansion,” says Bob Powers, cofounder of the Atlanta-based New Realm Brewing Company, which opened its second location last fall in Virginia Beach, complete with taproom, rooftop terrace, outdoor beer garden, and space to brew 40,000 barrels of beer each year. “Virginia is one of the best states in the country to travel, for many reasons, and beer is quickly becoming one of those reasons.”

The Commonwealth’s robust market for beer—as well as local incentives—has attracted other big names to the Commonwealth, including California-based Stone Brewing Co., which opened a location in Richmond in 2015, and Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery, which will begin construction on its Roanoke facility later this year. 

The local breweries are holding their own as well, gaining recognition at competitions worldwide. Last year, Williamsburg’s Virginia Beer Co. competed against makers from 51 countries (with 2,344 beers) at the European Beer Star competition in Nuremberg, Germany, and was one of only 23 American breweries to place. The brewery’s Elbow Patches Oatmeal Stout won a silver medal in the Dry Stout category. Our hot take? Keep brewing what you’re brewing, Virginia. 

New and notable: Fresh Powder from Virginia Beer Co. and Hazy Like A Fox from New Realm Brewing Company


This article originally appeared in our June 2019 issue.

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