Green Flash Breaks Ground in Virginia

San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing today announced it will begin construction on its second location, a 58,000 sq. ft. brewing facility in Virginia Beach that will eventually be capable of producing 100,000 barrels of beer per year.

Officially scheduled to open in 2016, the $20 million brewery will be built on a 9-acre lot in the area’s Corporate Landing Business Park.

“We are breaking ground to enter the first phase of construction, focused on the layout and building orientation,” co-founder Mike Hinkley said in a statement. “We want to be sure we are mindful of our impact on the immediate surroundings, so we are planning to incorporate the pre-existing landscape and trees into our spacious beer garden and will develop routes for smart traffic flow, accessible walkways and ample parking for guests.”

At least 45 percent of the Green Flash’s overall production is expected to come from the new brewery, the statement said. The company expects to make about 65,000 barrels in 2014.

The groundbreaking comes on the heels of an announcement from fellow San Diego-area craft brewer, Stone Brewing, which said it plans to build its own $74 million brewing facility in Richmond, Va. Stone’s facility is also expected to open as early as late 2015.

A full press release is below.

San Diego, CA — Today, Mike and Lisa Hinkley co-founders of Green Flash Brewing Co. along with Brewmaster Chuck Silva gathered with Virginia State Senator Jeffrey McWaters, Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Maurice Jones and Virginia Beach Mayor William D. Sessoms to officially break ground on the site of the San Diego-headquartered brewery’s new location in Virginia Beach, VA. The October 13th groundbreaking ceremony marks the official start of construction to build the 58,000-square-foot Green Flash brewery, tasting room and beer garden in Hampton Roads.

“I’m pleased to welcome Green Flash to Virginia Beach,” said Virginia Senator Jeff McWaters. “As a legislator, it is very rewarding when legislation you’ve worked on makes a visible and significant impact on industry and spurs job creation. With the passage of Senate Bill 604, Green Flash chose to take another look at Virginia and ultimately decided to make Virginia Beach their east coast home. I am grateful for the investment Green Flash is making in our community, and I look forward to the grand opening in 2016.”

Last year, Green Flash staked claim on the nine-acre lot located at the corner of General Booth Blvd and Corporate Landing in the Corporate Landing Business Park. After going public with the news that Virginia Beach was the choice for the brewery’s East Coast location, Green Flash teamed up with Hampton Roads-based developers, The Miller Group to proceed with land acquisition, design, permitting, and more.

“After announcing plans to build our facility in Virginia Beach, we have been moving forward step-by-step towards breaking ground,” states Mike Hinkley Co-founder and CEO of Green Flash Brewing Co. “We are breaking ground to enter the first phase of construction, focused on the layout and building orientation on the nine-acre lot. We want to be sure we are mindful of our impact on the immediate surroundings, so we are planning to incorporate the pre-existing landscape and trees into our spacious beer garden and will develop routes for smart traffic flow, accessible walkways and ample parking for guests. We extend many thanks to everyone in the community for making us feel welcome and at home from day one, and look forward to celebrating our opening upon completion of construction in 2016.”

The steadily growing demand for Green Flash beers on the East Coast prompted the need for a second brewery, and Virginia Beach was chosen due to its ease of access from all mid-Atlantic corridors as well as for its coastal landscape and cultural similarities to San Diego, CA. Were Green Flash to open the Virginia Beach facility today, the East Coast brewery would produce and ship about 45% of its beer from Hampton Roads to the eastern half of the U.S. hat number is expected to grow by 2016, and the Virginia brewery will allow Green Flash to cold-ship fresh beer via second-day freight. This means beer at its best, lower pricing at retail and a smaller carbon footprint.

“Most importantly,” says Green Flash Co-founder and Vice President of Marketing, Lisa Hinkley, “we will have the chance to further connect with our customers on the East Coast in the Virginia Beach tasting room and beer garden. Our most powerful brand building comes when we are face to face with our customers and they can see, hear, feel and taste our beer at the source. It is then that they are able to experience our passion for brewing innovation and explore our craft first-hand.”

In addition to focusing on logistical planning for the 2016 opening, Green Flash has been busy making friends with neighbors in the area. On Sunday, October 12, Green Flash hosted their first Treasure Chest Fest fundraiser for the Tidewater chapter of Susan G Komen. Held on the site of the future brewery, the beer and food festival featured some rare Green Flash beer along with select brews from over a dozen area breweries, food from local craft eateries and live entertainment.

Green Flash brewing executives have also been getting to know local businesses, particularly their craft brewing comrades. Green Flash Brewmaster Chuck Silva has spent much of the past year traveling to the area, working on successful beer collaborations with Virginia-based craft breweries including Smartmouth and Devils Backbone.

“We already feel like part of this community of brewers because everyone has been open to the idea of friendly collaboration, says Brewmaster Chuck Silva. “I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and work with many talented brewers in Virginia, and we have produced some solid collaborative beers. We plan to team up with the great brewers of Virginia for years to come and look forward to hosting our neighbors to brew at our facility in 2016.”

From a production standpoint, the new brewery will replicate the state-of-the-art production capabilities of the Green Flash headquarters in San Diego. The brewery’s interior footprint will follow the same plan with most equipment installed prior to opening. The fermentation tanks will be delivered in three phases: 50% of capacity up front, with 25% added as needed until reaching the operation’s full capacity to meet demand. Upon opening, the Virginia Beach facility will employ 40-plus Virginians and represent $20 million of invested capital.

“We couldn’t be happier that Green Flash has chosen Virginia Beach as its East Coast location,” said Mayor William D. Sessoms of Virginia Beach. “When they reach capacity, Green Flash will be producing 100,000 barrels of beer every year from Virginia Beach, and that is certainly something to celebrate.”

Green Flash is expected to produce 65,000 barrels out of their San Diego brewery in 2014, and is expected to reach the California facility’s maximum 100,000 barrel capacity in 2016 — just in time for their official grand opening in Virginia Beach.

About Green Flash Brewing Co.

Green Flash Brewing Co., is headquartered in San Diego, California, and was founded in 2002 by Mike and Lisa Hinkley. Brewmaster, Chuck Silva, leads brewing operations. Green Flash is an award-winning brewer of fine, hand-crafted ales, and specializes in brewing assertive and distinctive beers, such as the nationally acclaimed West Coast I.P.A.: an award-winning beer whose wide acceptance has helped define a category. Green Flash brews ten styles of beer regularly, on draft and in bottles as well as a growing lineup of seasonal and special offerings, including several barrel-aged beers, throughout the year. The brewery plans to open their 2nd full-scale brewing operation on the East Coast in Virginia Beach — scheduled to open in 2016. Please visit the Green Flash website for more information.