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Author: THOMAS CIZAUSKAS
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe proclaims August to be Virginia Craft Beer Month, and Virginia breweries will celebrate … and compete.
Virginia Craft Beer Month 2015
WHEREAS, brewing homegrown, locally sourced beer in Virginia is a tradition that began in 1587, when Virginia colonists brewed their first ale using corn; and
WHEREAS, the production of craft beer stimulates economic growth in Virginia by supporting local farmers of grains, barley, and hops; and
WHEREAS, the craft beer industry also supports a growing $623 million economic impact in Virginia, along with more than 8,000 jobs; and
WHEREAS, Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, established in 2010 as a coalition of independent, small, commercial breweries dedicated to growing the craft beer industry in Virginia, will host the 4th annual Virginia Craft Brewers Fest on August 22, 2015, at Devils Backbone Basecamp in Nelson County, Virginia; and
WHEREAS, there are more than 115 licensed craft breweries in the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, Virginia Craft Brewers Month is an opportunity to celebrate the Commonwealth’s craft beer and the business and community leaders working to grow the industry;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terence R. McAuliffe, do hereby recognize August 2015 as VIRGINIA CRAFT BEER MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA,and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.
‘Craft’ beer1 is a booming business in Virginia. In just one year, the state has seen a 47% increase in the number of its breweries. Excluding Anheuser-Busch in Williamsburg, and MillerCoors in Elkton, Virginia, there are now one-hundred twenty-one licensed ‘craft’ breweries in Virginia, six more than the Governor proclaimed. In 2014, there were eighty-two ‘craft’ breweries in the state; in 2013, just over fifty.2
The greater portion of this growth can be tracked back to 2012, to the passage of Virginia Senate Bill 604 and House Bill 359, that allowed production breweries —that is, breweries without a restaurant attached (aka brewpubs)— to sell beer for on-site consumption in their public taprooms. That same year, the Virginia legislature first proclaimed August to be Virginia Craft Beer Month.
The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild —a subset of the Virginia Manufacturers Association— “is a coalition of independent, small, commercial breweries dedicated to growing the craft beer industry in the Commonwealth.” Every year, since 2012, the Guild has celebrated Virginia Craft Beer Month by organizing the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest at the fairgrounds of Devils Backbone Brewing, in Roseland, Virginia. This year, that will be on Saturday, 22 August.
A highlight of the festival is the awarding of the Virginia Craft Brewers Cup to the state’s best beer(s) and brewery. Nationally accredited judges (BJCP, the Beer Budge Certification Program) judge entries independently, earlier in the month. Last year they judged over two-hundred beers entered in fourteen categories.
Host brewery Devils Backbone has won the Cup —and bragging rights as Virginia’s best— three years running. This August, one-hundred twenty other breweries may have plans to wrest that away.
As of today, the Guild has announced only the Fest as an event for Virginia Craft Beer Month. Another good calendar resource is the Virginia Beer Trail (not affiliated with the Guild), created by blogger Kory Mohr. Look for events with the tag, Virginia Craft Beer Month. Or, if you’re a brewery or pub or venue celebrating Virginia Craft Beer Month with an event(s), post an announcement at the site.
More on the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest, on 22 August, and how to get tickets: here.
The results of the 2014 competition: here.
1 There is no legal or governmental definition of ‘craft’ brewery. However, the (U.S.) Brewers Association does define it, for purposes of membership, as “small, independent, and traditional”: here.
2 The list of breweries operating in Virginia can be obtained at the website of the Virginia ABC (Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control). More on the 2014 number (83): here. On the 2013 count (50): here.
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