Contributors : Josh Reyes, Mark Holtzclaw, Steve Roberts Jr., Victoria Bourne.
Brewery founder dies
Billsburg Brewery founder Dave Baum, 46, died in February of an apparent heart attack. Baum opened the brewery to great fanfare in 2017, bringing about $1.4 million in new investment to the Jamestown area. Robby Willey, owner of the Virginia Beer Company, called Baum a “kindred spirit.”
“(Baum’s death) is a really big loss not only for the craft beer community, but for Williamsburg,” Willey said. “It’s a double gut punch for all of us.”
For Jim Kennedy, a chef and food truck owner, Baum quickly became a friend after he opened Billsburg.
“He never met a stranger,” Kennedy said of Baum. “He knew everyone as a friend. When he went out to the food truck to pick up some food for himself, on the way from the taproom to the truck it might have taken him 45 minutes to get there. Everyone wanted a little piece of him.”
Kennedy said he hopes Baum is remembered for the charitable and cultural events he helped to sponsor at the brewery: from a fundraiser to support Jared Antle, a Lafayette High School graduate who suffered traumatic brain injuries after he was the victim of a hit-and-run, to hosting the 1619Fest, a festival at the brewery that commemorated African American heritage in the 400 years after the first slaves were brought to Jamestown.
“His legacy, to me, is about the heart of the man and what he accomplished in such a short period of time to bring people together,” Kennedy said. “He did that through music, libations (and) food to make this a community that had better relations with itself.”
Baum leaves behind three daughters, Piper, Rylie and Montana, and his wife Kristin.
Tracking toward success
Main Line Brewery, a new craft brewhouse located along the Richmond Railway, is the result of a longtime dream by childhood friends Sterling Roberts and Gary McDowell. The brewery is just east of Scott’s Addition. It offers a wide, curated selection of both classic and original styles of beer and seltzer paired with live music, lawn games and community events.
Hardywood Park embarks on an overhaul
Officials with Richmond’s Hardywood Park Craft Brewery announced that the brewery is undertaking a major overhaul of its downtown location at the corner of Ownby Lane and Overbrook Road. According to a Facebook post, the brewery plans to relocate its original 20-barrel brewhouse and make experimental brewing a more central part of the visitor experience. According to the post, the brewery also plans for enhancements made to the patio and interior spaces, including the events and music venue.
Head brewer puts chemistry degree to good use
Rachel Edwards, the new head brewer at Oozlefinch Craft Brewery, says she can’t sip a beer these days without analyzing its flavor profile.
“That’s the small curse of the brewing industry,” she said with a laugh. “You can’t just taste a beer anymore. You’re automatically thinking about what they did to make it, or what’s in it that makes it so good, or what could have been done to make it different.”
Edwards is just 24 years old, a woman in a position that is largely dominated by men. And she loves what she is doing, even with frequent 12-hour days starting at 5 or 6 a.m.
A native of Northern Virginia, she graduated from Christopher Newport University with a degree in chemistry. The casual observer might associate that field of study with lab coats and rows of beakers, for Edwards it’s all about the beer.
“There’s a lot of biology and chemistry and physics in the brewing process,” she said. “Really, the whole STEM field intermingles in brewing. I’ve always loved all aspects of science, but you can’t major in all of them. The fact that I get to do it all in a job now is great for me.”
Perfect sets and Pink Boots
O’Connor Brewing Company has released what it says is the first craft beer variety pack in the Mid-Atlantic to feature both cans and bottles. The brewery’s surf-inspired Perfect Set Variety Pack is a seasonally curated mix of four of the following selections: Offshore Seasonal rotating bottle series, El Guapo IPA bottle, Hip Hop Anonymous IPA rotating can series, Proper Lager can or Nitro ODIS stout can.
Perfect Set Variety Packs are offered at select grocery stores, Total Wines, and Costcos throughout Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C.
In other news, O’Connor is releasing its Pink Boots Society Collaboration Beer on March 28. The creation, made in honor of International Women’s Day, is a partnership between the ladies of OBC, OBC Think Tank and Barley’s Angels of Coastal Virginia.
This year’s beer is Juicy Boots Double IPA with Tart Cherry.
Capital City conference
Richmond has been selected to host the 2021 Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference February 23-25 at the Omni Richmond Hotel in the city’s Shockoe Slip Historic District. The conference provides information and education regarding the growing functions and importance of beer marketing, tourism, event planning and branding. The schedule of events for 2021 will include summits, presentations and lectures from leading beer industry figures, including a keynote talk from Stone Brewing Co-Founder Greg Koch.