The Virginia Beer Co. Heeds the Call of the Commonwealth

Where in the World - Virginia Breezin'

Virginia Beer Co.Williamsburg’s historic college, William & Mary, introduced Robby Willey and Chris Smith. They became fast friends, their bond cemented in part by a shared appreciation for craft beer. Their craft explorations began at Green Leafe Café in Williamsburg and continued post-graduation, as together they visited breweries throughout the U.S. Their connection would eventually lead to the birth of The Virginia Beer Co.

If you’re familiar with stories behind brewery start-ups, this chapter sounds familiar: Despite solid degrees and successful careers, they both found work interesting but missing the spark that could sustain them long term, a spark that brewery ownership could provide.

The tale becomes more intriguing for Virginians when Willey and Smith reveal that each had moved away from the commonwealth after graduation and were considering other East Coast locations for their new venture – clearly, they didn’t begin their planning with the brewery name, The Virginia Beer Co.

However, the home of their alma mater beckoned. Virginia had recently passed SB604, allowing breweries to sell beer on site; Williamsburg promised market potential; and for the two friends, the town also had their personal backstory.

In spring 2012, they decided on Williamsburg. “We love this town and decided to come back,” says Smith. “This is a community we’d like to be a part of and help any way we can.”

For more, read the Virginia Craft Beer magazine article online.

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