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E-Malt.com News article: USA, VA: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery planning expansion
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More than 100 people trudged down a leaf-covered dirt trail to gather in a wooded area of Goochland County on November 13 for a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s future expansion, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

In a clearing overlooking Tuckahoe Creek, the guests were served small snifters of Hardywood’s popular Gingerbread Stout beer. Then they toasted the company’s ambitious growth plans.

“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Hardywood,” said Eric McKay, who co-founded Hardywood four years ago with business partner Patrick Murtaugh as a small brewing operation in Richmond.

As the region’s craft beverage industry has boomed, Hardywood, a maker of numerous varieties of beer, is expanding, too. It plans to start construction soon on a 60,000-square-foot brewery and packaging and distribution center in the West Creek office park.

Hardywood’s founders expect the new brewery to be open by the spring of 2017.

The company first announced plans for the expansion during the summer. McKay and Murtaugh hope the 24-acre site will become a destination for beer lovers. It will have a taproom, beer garden, bocce courts and a natural amphitheater for music and other events.

“We can’t wait to become a cultural center in the heart of beautiful West Creek,” McKay told the crowd.

He added that the company plans to be “a job creator, tax revenue generator, industrial utility user in Goochland County, a steward of environmentally conscious manufacturing, an even larger purchaser of Virginia agricultural products, and a great promoter of the notion that Virginia is for craft beer lovers.”

Hardywood plans to keep open its current brewery on Ownby Lane in the city of Richmond, and it will still host events there.

The new site in Goochland will let the company more than double its beer production capacity while attracting visitors from around the Richmond area and beyond.

The Goochland Planning Commission approved the project last week. McKay said Hardywood plans to submit a more detailed plan of development to the county within a few weeks that will work out some details, such as the seating capacity of the planned amphitheater.

Murtaugh said the brewery will blend well with the natural surroundings.

“It is not going to look like a factory or an office building,” he said. “We’re hoping to build on the natural beauty that is already here and provide a place to sit and have a beer and enjoy the scenery.”

Murtaugh said he does not think the explosion of craft beer producers in the Richmond region over the past few years has reached a saturation point yet.

“Craft beer has been increasing in sales every year over the last decade, and we don’t see that number declining anytime soon,” he said.

Some of the trees at the site will be used to make architectural elements for the new brewery, and to make tables and tap handles, McKay said. Citiwood Urban Forest Products in Richmond will make smaller elements such as the tap handles, while Dreaming Creek Timber Framers in Powhatan will make architectural frames.

Loughridge & Co. is the general contractor for the project. Kimley-Horn & Associates is the civil engineer. Price Studios is the building architect, and Water Street Studio is the landscape architect.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe attended the groundbreaking, joking to the crowd that he plans to visit all of the more than 120 craft breweries now operating in the state. “I’m Irish — it’s not my fault,” he joked.

When Belgium’s ambassador to the U.S. visited the governor’s mansion in Richmond this week, McAuliffe gave him a six-pack of Hardywood Singel, a Belgian-style beer, said Todd Haymore, Virginia’s secretary of agriculture and forestry.

“The governor presented the ambassador with that six-pack and looked him dead in the eye and said, ‘I know you are from Belgium, but I can assure you that you have never had a Belgian-style beer as good as Hardywood Singel,’ ” Haymore said.

Some of the Richmond region’s other craft brewery owners attended the groundbreaking, including Trae Cairns, founder of Midnight Brewery, and Sean-Thomas and Lisa Pumphrey, founders of Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery. Both of those breweries are also in Goochland.

Hardywood gets some of its ingredients from local farms. Its Gingerbread Stout contains honey from Goochland and ginger grown in Powhatan County at Casselmonte Farm, owned by Bill and India Cox.

“They really believe in local products,” Bill Cox said at Friday’s event. “It has been a great partnership for us.”

18 November, 2015

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