Gov. McAuliffe announces first commercial hops facility in mid-Atlantic in Loudoun
"I am pleased to announce that Virginia, thanks to this important investment by Black Hops Farm, will be home to the first commercial-scale hops processing operation in the Mid-Atlantic region," said McAuliffe.
The facility is expected to produce 11 new jobs and was a $1 million investment. The state gave a $40,000 AFID grant for the project, which was matched by the county.
"The only thing restricting hops growth in this area is a proper processing facility," said Solomon Rose, owner of Organarchy organic Hop Farm.
Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) touted 1,300 agriculture businesses which account for $69 million in revenue for the county a year.
McAuliffe made clear this facility would be Virginia's chance to stake its beer making flag in the ground, to take a bite out of the stranglehold the Pacific Northwest has on commercial hops production in the United States.
Currently more than 96 percent of all commercial hops produced in the United States are produced in Oregon, Idaho or Washington.
The hops facility allows breweries to completely brew Virginia beers in a way that wasn't possible before.
Hops are an essential ingredient in the beer-making process. They must be harvested and go into production within the space of hours. The Black Hops Farm commercial hops facility would be a major production hub for hops producers from around the region and could supply Virginia beer makers with Virginia hops.
Jonathan Staples, the farm's proprietor splits his time between Frederick, Md., Richmond and the District.
On trips to see his parents, who live in Richmond, or meet with business partners at James River Distillery, he would pass Lucketts, a place he says he feels connected to like few other places.
He bought a farm and soon after felt like he wanted to support keeping western Loudoun rural. What better way than to empower farmers' businesses. The wheels were set in motion from then on to create a facility for large-scale hops production.
The event was a who's who of beer makers with vendors from around the state like Flying Dog Brewery, Beltway Brewery, Rappahannock Oysters and James River Distillery on hand.
“Top Chef” contestant Bryan Voltaggio, the co-owner of Ashburn's soon-to-come Family Meal, was also at the event. Jonathan Staple's wife Hilda is the restaurant's other co-owner.
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