Hardywood planning $28 million expansion in Goochland County

Hardywood planning $28 million expansion in Goochland County

Plans include a 60,000-square-foot distribution facility, amphitheater, and beer garden.

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, one of the city’s original craft breweries, announced a massive expansion plan Monday afternoon alongside Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. The brewery held a press conference to announce that they have secured a site in Goochland County to create a “destination brewery campus.” The 24-acre site in the West Creek Business Park sits along Tuckahoe Creek, approximately two miles west of Short Pump.

The new campus, which will be built in phases, will accommodate brewing and packaging facilities, a taproom and beer garden, agricultural fields, a food truck plaza, bocce courts, a natural amphitheater for live performances, and walking paths connecting to a planned creekside trail system, brewery representatives said.

“Our vision has always been to provide an exceptional work environment for our team members, sufficient scale to keep pace with demand and sustain competitive forces, and a truly unique visitor experience, said Hardywood president and co-founder Eric McKay. “We’re thrilled to be able to accomplish all of that with this new facility.”

Hardywood owners say they explored dozens of site options throughout central Virginia and North Carolina, but selected the West Creek location in Goochland County because of its balance of industrial utilities, highway access, proximity to a growing population of young professionals, and an idyllic setting with ample space for growth.

Averaging 100% growth per year since opening in 2011, Hardywood is on track to brew 15,000 barrels in 2015, and is rapidly nearing capacity. A custom, 60-barrel brewhouse and state of the art packaging equipment will allow Hardywood to increase initial capacity to more than 40,000 barrels per year, enabling expanded distribution beyond Virginia’s borders.

“Sophisticated instrumentation and better process control on our new brewing system will elevate our quality assurance and consistency to world class levels, delivering more value to our customers, and hopefully earning their loyalty,” explained brewmaster and brewery co-founder Patrick Murtaugh. “At the same time, opening the new facility will enable us to dedicate our 20-barrel brewery in the City of Richmond entirely to creative brewing, experimentation and collaboration,” Murtaugh continued, “which are hallmarks of our brewing team that have driven the national recognition of the Hardywood brand.”

Hardywood will create 56 jobs at the new location and will bring more than $28 million in private investment to Goochland County with the multi-phase project. The largest purchaser of Virginia agricultural products in the brewing industry, Hardywood will be able to further develop its numerous partnerships with local farmers and artisans through its expansion. The project was made possible through the support of the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, the Virginia Investment Partnership Grant and the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund, with matching support from Goochland County.

Speaking at the economic development announcement Monday in West Creek, Governor McAuliffe remarked, “Hardywood has built a strong reputation for their award-winning beers and the integrity of their ingredients and business practices. I am thrilled to help them launch a new chapter in their business’s growth. Craft beer is an integral part of my plan to build a new Virginia economy, and Virginia is quickly becoming the most significant player in the craft beverage industry on the East Coast. Investments like this create jobs, tourism opportunities, and markets for Virginia’s farmers.”

The first phase of the project, consisting of a brewery, packaging hall and beer garden, is scheduled to open by the spring of 2017. The facility will retain Hardywood’s commitment to utilizing 100% renewable energy through solar, biomass and wind to power the brewery. Irrigation water will come from a rainwater retention system, natural light will be used extensively within the brewery, wood timbered for site grading will be reused in building out the taproom, and ultra high efficiency equipment, mechanical systems and lighting will be employed.

This is a huge expansion for one of Richmond’s original craft breweries, dwarfed only by the forthcoming 200,000-square-foot Stone Brewing Co. (a nationally-distributed brand) facility near Rocketts Landing.

Back in 2013, Hardywood sparred with the City of Richmond over back taxes the city said it owed due to the implementation of the newly-imposed meals tax. The brewery believed they were exempt from said tax since no restaurant exists on its premises. It is not immediately clear whether these issues factored into the brewery’s decision to invest heavily in Goochland County rather than the City of Richmond or not.

Hardywood’s original location on Owenby Lane in the City of Richmond will remain open for tastings and public events, but the facility will operate as more of a research and development facility, with packaging and distribution options moving to the Goochland campus.

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