There's good news in the ongoing saga of Shooting Creek Farm Brewery in Floyd County, Virginia. Local anti-alcohol forces had appealed the granting of the brewery's license. Last month the two sides in the dispute agreed to sit down, with a neutral party, and talk over their differences. Now it appears those talks were successful in reaching a compromise.
I had the opportunity today to speak with Jason Anderson, the new manager at Shooting Creek. Jason came on board after Ray Jones left to pursue a job overseas. Owner Brett Nichols and Jason have worked hard to clear the hurdles thrown at them and bring their craft beer to the area. The brewery did make some concessions in order to appease the local opposition. Among those concessions, the brewery will not be selling beer for off-premises consumption. That means no bottles or growler fills at the brewery. There will also be no tours or tastings for the foreseeable future.
There will still be plenty of opportunities to enjoy Shooting Creek's beers. Jason tells me they hope to join up with local wineries and take part in regional wine festivals. Beer at a wine festival is good beer evangelization! Shooting Creek beer will also be available through a local distributor. Details are still being worked out but look for the beers on retail shelves in surrounding counties early next year. Per their VABC license, there is the possibility of special events at the brewery but nothing is planned yet. Please do not show up at the brewery hoping for a tour or samples. You'll be disappointed and the neighbors will be riled up. Jason tells me they've had to turn folks away. You've been warned.
The brewery expects to have 6 year-round beers, along with a couple seasonal rotations. No brewing is occurring while the final legal details are being worked out but Jason says they hope to be brewing by late January.
Jason also told me that the farm has been working to bring a hop crop into production. They eventually hope to use at least some of their own hops in all their beers. That's a good thing for Virginia agri-tourism. Using Virginia-grown ingredients is one of the things that gives the Virginia wine industry a leg up in securing industry support from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Brett, Jason, and Ray, are to be commended for their persistence in reaching a compromise. The opposition, though a small group, has been vocal, and often illogical. But it appears the hard work will pay off and Virginia will soon boast yet another craft brewery.
Click here to read all of the posts on the Shooting Creek issues.