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In August, hundreds of breweries, restaurants, hotels, and small businesses across the state will celebrate the second year of Love on Tap: August Virginia Craft Beer Month. The month’s theme, Love on Tap, is a nod to the state’s famous Virginia is for Lovers slogan and will showcase the state’s burgeoning craft beer scene, which continues to grow at an exciting rate.
“Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation, but it’s also at the heart of every carefully-crafted Virginia beer at more than 60 breweries and counting,” said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “Across the state, craft breweries are offering an exceptional travel experience for beer lovers, outdoor lovers, and culinary enthusiasts. Virginia is fast becoming the prime East Coast destination for travelers looking for local flavor. August Craft Beer Month is the perfect opportunity to celebrate Virginia’s growing craft beer culture and community of craft breweries.”
“This is an exciting time to be involved with Virginia beer,” said Michael Killelea, Chairman of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild and head brewer at Center of the Universe Brewing Company. “Virginia is maturing into a true craft beer destination thanks to some forward-thinking folks in the General Assembly and the governor’s office. We are looking forward to honoring and celebrating Virginia’s craft beer throughout the month of August and recognizing the best-of-the-best at the centerpiece of Craft Beer Month, the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival.”
The festival, which will take place on August 24 at Devils Backbone Brewery, is designed to celebrate and promote Virginia breweries to the public, give valuable feedback to the breweries by certified beer judges, and raise funds for the continued operation of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild. During the craft beer competition, each brewery will submit up to three beers to be considered for the Virginia Craft Brewers Cup, presented by Virginia is for Lovers. The Virginia tourism office will then award the coveted cup to the winner of the best Virginia craft beer for 2013.
In addition to sponsoring the Virginia Craft Brewers Cup, the tourism office has created an interactive map on www.Virginia.org/craftbeer to help visitors find craft breweries open for tastings and tours and plan a visit. The site also features special events and Virginia craft beer travel packages throughout August.
Craft beer industry’s impact on Virginia’s economy
The craft beer industry has already made an impressive impact on the state’s economy. Since the state passed a law last year allowing breweries to sell beer on site, the craft beer industry has propelled to new heights across Virginia, creating new jobs and helping to boost the economy. In early 2013, an economic study commissioned by the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Beer Institute showed that the beer industry as a whole generates nearly 52,000 jobs in Virginia-accounting for $2.2 billion in wages and benefits. The industry also contributed $1.3 billion in the form of business, personal, and consumption taxes in 2012.
Additionally, the craft beer industry has proved to be an important community partner as members of the industry have initiated and supported alcohol awareness and education efforts, recycling programs, philanthropy programs, and efforts to preserve and protect the environment.
Virginia: A history of suds
Virginians have long appreciated the value of good beer. Capitalizing on the state’s rich natural resources and robust economic landscape, Virginians have been brewing as far back as 1587, when colonists brewed ale using corn. The tradition continued as Virginia became a hub for hops production, inspiring some notable Virginians to join the hops-growing and home-brewing movements-including two of our nation’s Founding Fathers, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. America’s fourth president and Virginia statesman James Madison also encouraged the “manufacture of beer in every State in the Union.”
Nearly 80 years ago, Virginia revolutionized the beer world once more when the first canned beers–Kreuger’s Finest Beer and Kreuger’s Cream Ale-were sold in Richmond in 1935.
Since 1990, Virginia has brought home 82 medals from the Great American Beer Festival, making it the 13th in the country for most wins at the competition.
Now go out and celebrate craft beer in the beautiful state of Virginia!