The pilot brewery, which opened in February, 2017, struggled to gain traction in Charlottesville despite fantastic beers on tap, including the award-winning Ginger Bread Stout, which was officially released this past weekend.
In the midst of closing its Charlottesville operation, Hardywood representatives discussed passing the taproom lease to Richmond-based The Veil Brewing Company and Waynesboro-based Blue Ridge Bucha, but both negotiations failed to materialize tangible opportunities, sources confirmed.
A Virginia brewery giant, Hardywood officially launched in late 2011 as one of only two craft breweries in Richmond, Virginia. Today, Hardywood is an iconic craft beer brand with its flagship headquarters on Ownby Lane in the heart of Richmond and a 60-barrel brewhouse and brewery in the West Creek area of Richmond, on the border of Goochland County.
Hardywood Pilot Brewery is the second Charlottesville-based brewery to close its doors. C-Villian Brewing Co. went out of business in October, 2017 after a 2.5-year run on West Main Street. Snowing In Space, a nitro cold brew coffee bar, now occupies the C-Villian Brewing Co. location.
The Charlottesville and Albemarle County craft beer ecosystems have quickly become very saturated and competitive. South Street Brewing, Starr Hill Brewing, Champion Brewing Company and Three Notch’d Brewing Company, all stalwarts in the Charlottesville metropolitan market, have seen many new competitors enter the fray, including:
Random Row Brewing Company (CVille)
Reason Beer (Albemarle County)
Pro Re Nata Brewery (Albemarle County)
BJ’s Brewhouse & Restaurant (Albemarle County)
Wild Wolf Brewing Company (CVille)
Decipher Brewing Company (Albemarle County)
Rockfish Brewing Company (CVille)
Selvedge Brewing, which will open soon in Woolen Mills (Albemarle County)
Starr Hill, a Crozet-based brewery, which is the second oldest brewery in Charlottesville (South Street is the oldest), announced that it will open a new taproom on Preston Avenue in Developer Chris Henry’s Dairy Market in Spring, 2020. Wild Wolf opened a new taproom in CVille off Water Street earlier this year to complement its flagship brewery in Nelson County.
Hunter Smith, the CEO and founder of Champion Brewing Co., will also open a second taproom, brewery and restaurant in Stonefield in the former RockSalt Restaurant space. This new operation is scheduled to open later this year.
As a result, the local brewery landscape (Charlottesville and Albemarle County only) now looks like this:
South Street Brewery (one location: CVille)
Starr Hill Brewery (two locations: Albemarle County and CVille)
Champion Brewing Company (two locations: Albemarle County and CVille)
Three Notch’d Brewing Company (one location: CVille)
Random Row Brewing Company (one location: CVille)
Reason Beer (one location: Albemarle County)
Pro Re Nata Brewing (one location: Albemarle County)
BJ’s Brewhouse (one location: Albemarle County)
Wild Wolf (two locations: CVille and Nelson County)
Decipher Brewing Company (one location: Albemarle County)
Rockfish Brewing Company (one location: CVille)
Selvedge Brewing Company (one location: opening soon in Albemarle County)
That’s 15 brewery or taproom business models located in Charlottesville and Albemarle County alone. This does not include the breweries located in Nelson County and around Central Virginia. These breweries include:
Blue Mountain Brewery
Blue Mountain Barrel House
Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Wild Wolf Brewing Company
Wood Ridge Farm Brewing Brewery
Brewing Tree Beer Company
Wild Man Dan Brewery
Photo Credit: Loughride & Co. Construction Services
Jerry Miller, CEO & Publisher
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