Virginia Gov Signs Pro-craft Legislation

Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell today signed two pieces of legislation to support Virginia craft brewers at the Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. House Bill 359 (McClellan) allows manufacturers to lease space in their brewhouses to smaller-scale brewers and Senate Bill 604 (McWaters) allows retail sales of beer and sampling on the premises of Virginia breweries.

The governor was joined by legislators, brewers from around the state, distributors, representatives from the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, representatives from the Virginia Manufacturers Association, commissioner of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Neal Insley, and representatives from the Virginia Tourism Commission. After the bill signing the governor helped unveil a new logo for craft beer from the Virginia Tourism Commission “Virginia is for craft beer Lovers.” Virginia currently has 44 licensed breweries.

Speaking about the legislation, Governor McDonnell said, “This legislation positions Virginia’s craft brewers to grow and create more jobs in the Commonwealth. From Arlington to Abingdon, entrepreneurial Virginians are innovating and brewing critically acclaimed beers. The legislation signed today will make it easier for our breweries to serve as destinations for potential customers and allow some of our talented small-scale brewers to lease space from established brewers and overcome some of the significant start-up costs. I would like to thank Senator Jeff McWaters and Delegate Jennifer McClellan for their leadership as patrons in the House and Senate in passing these important bills. Growing Virginia’s craft breweries will grow Virginia manufacturing, agriculture and tourism jobs.”

Eric McKay, co-founder of Hardywood Park Brewery said, “Senate Bill 604 is a landmark bill for Virginia’s craft brewers and for its manufacturing industry at large. Fueled by a passion for quality, innovation and unique flavors, a focus on local ingredients, a commitment to community philanthropy and a dedication to environmental sustainability, Virginia’s craft brewers are significantly empowered through Governor McDonnell’s unprecedented support. SB 604 will, without question, create a substantial number of hospitality and manufacturing jobs, generate significantly greater sales tax revenues, increase tourism, attract new and expanding craft breweries to Virginia, support local agriculture, and enhance Virginia’s food and beverage culture. We commend Governor McDonnell for identifying this opportunity for economic growth through greater liberties to productive and responsible manufacturers.”