Beer industry booming in the Commonwealth

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — An Bui gets excited when he talks about what motivated him to open The Answer Brew Pub in Richmond roughly three years ago.

“It’s a passion, it’s a passion, It’s a passion!” Bui exclaimed. “I’ve seen that when I’ve traveled to Denver, to Portland, if states like this can create a beer scene, why can’t Richmond?”

Governor Terry McAuliffe spoke to the National Craft Breweries Association in Washington D.C. Tuesday evening to give his best sales pitch to attract new beer businesses to Virginia.

“We got Stone to move here, and we got Deschutes to move here, we’ve got Ballast Point to move here, Green Flash, I mean, no one has had the success we’ve had the last two years recruiting major known craft breweries,” McAuliffe told 8News Reporter Jonathan Costen, pointing out tgat the booming beer industry has brought hundreds of jobs to the area. “We have 190-craft breweries in Virginia today. It’s a billion dollar industry for us, so I believe it really helps our tourism.

“Folks come, they love to come to our craft breweries, but in addition to that, these craft breweries are all buying locally produced products, it is great for our farmers. We can’t produce enough hops here, so I tell people go out and start a hop farm here in Virginia,” McAuliffe added.

In the meantime, Bui said Virginia is quickly becoming a competitive threat to the neighbors to the south of us in North Carolina.

“We’re about to overtake Asheville in the East Coast,” Bui said. “We’re becoming a destination, yes, because we’re right on the 95 corridor,” Bui said. “So we’re very centralized, so it’s perfect for us.”

Bui added that he’s not concerned about competition because, according to him, everyone is family in the brew business and looks out for each other.

And he and the governor both agree that it’s a business that will continue to grow.