Is Another West Coast Brewery Looking to Build in Virginia?

Virginia is for Craft Beer Lovers

Another West Coast brewery is set to break ground in Virginia.

The mid-Atlantic state has become an in-vogue region for fast-growing craft breweries, with Deschutes, Stone and Green Flash all turning to Virginia to open their East Coast manufacturing arms.

And Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced last week that another is on the way. Visiting Boston on an economic development mission, he toasted New England companies and made it clear that an announcement naming the brewery is in the offing.

While the identity of the brewery has yet to be confirmed, sources from Virginia’s Economic Development Partnership who were on hand last week told Brewbound that the company is based on the West Coast.

A source within the state’s Economic Development Partnership also said that an official announcement could come as early as this week.

If so, it would be the fourth prominent brewery to announce such a move in the last three years. In March, Deschutes announced plans to build an $95 million production facility in Roanoke. In 2014, Stone Brewing selected Richmond as the site of its $74 million east coast brewery, and in 2013, Green Flash began construction on its $20 million production facility in Virginia Beach.

Both Stone and Green Flash are expected to open their Virginia locations this summer. Deschutes, meanwhile, has until June 1, 2019 to begin construction on its own facility.

One West Coast brewery that was rumored to be eying Virginia last year is San Diego’s Ballast Point. In a Richmond Times-Dispatch article from March 12, 2015, the outlet, citing multiple state and local sources, suggested that the brewery was looking to Richmond for a possible expansion.

Representatives from Ballast Point declined to comment for this story.

Virginia CBC Booth 2016

Craft brewing has become a target of Virginia’s economic development efforts in recent years as McAuliffe has sought to improve employment and attract manufacturing businesses to the state.

Representatives from the commonwealth’s economic development committee attended two recent Craft Brewers Conferences, and McAuliffe made the trip to this year’s event in Philadelphia to emphasize Virginia’s interest in recruiting out-of-state breweries.

In an interview with Brewbound at the CBC earlier this month, Virginia’s assistant secretary of agriculture and forestry, Cassidy Rasnick, suggested that West Coast breweries were of particular interest.

According to Rasnick, the government takes a proactive approach to seeking out brewers capable of opening operations in Virginia. State officials have developed relationships with site selectors who can tell them when a brewery is considering opening another location before the information goes public, and some even go so far as to solicit potential candidates directly.

“We want those West Coast brewers that are well-developed and ready to start thinking about an East Coast production facility,” she said. “We want them to know that Virginia wants them here. Our citizens want them here, our government wants them here.”

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