Governor McAuliffe Announces Two York County Breweries Receiving Tourism Growth Funds
~Brass Cannon Brewing and the Virginia Beer Company to help attract visitors and grow counties’ craft beer business~
RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced Brass Cannon Brewing and The Virginia Beer Company, both in York County, are the latest recipients of the Virginia Tourism Growth Fund (VTGF) program. Brass Cannon Brewing is receiving $15,000 and is expected to create five full-time jobs. The Virginia Beer Company is receiving $43,000 and is expected to create five full-time and six part-time jobs. Both breweries will use the funds for their visitor welcome, tasting room and special event areas. The VTGF is a Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) program established to grow tourism development projects across the Commonwealth. Eligible projects include new or expanded facilities or venues for lodging, recreation, entertainment, epicurean, cultural, or destination retail products or services designed to attract travelers to the Commonwealth.
“The tourism industry is a significant economic driver in the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Brass Cannon Brewing and The Virginia Beer Company are creating incredible experiences for travelers who love craft beer and reinforcing that Virginia is a leader in the craft beer industry. These breweries are improving their communities by providing good jobs and generating tax revenue, which help our efforts to diversify and build a new Virginia economy.”
The addition of both breweries will add a new dimension to the Greater Williamsburg tourism experience and help increase visitor spending to other local dining, retail, lodging and attractions. They will help create a critical mass and drive new tourism traffic to newly, revitalized businesses.
“These Virginia Tourism Growth Fund (VTGF) awards will enable Brass Cannon Brewing and The Virginia Beer Company to attract visitors who will spend money in the local economy,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “The VTGF is a great new tool that helps companies invest in business development projects, which will bring tourists and resources to communities throughout the Commonwealth.”
“York County and the Williamsburg area are excited about this addition to our local visitor experience,” said Delegate Brenda Pogge. “Williamsburg’s culinary scene has greatly improved over the last few years, but there is still plenty of room for more breweries to join our wine and spirit experiences.”
“The Greater Williamsburg area is well known as a family-friendly destination with historical attractions and amusement parks,” said Senator Thomas Norment. “The addition of these two breweries will help fill the void for young professionals and couples who want a new daytime attraction and center of nightlife.”
“We are collaborating with Ale Werks Brewing Company and The Virginia Beer Company to create a local beer trail to significantly grow local beverage tourism,” said Tony Artrip, Brass Cannon Brewing. “Most of our competitors focus on light or hoppy American styles, while we prefer early American and European, well balanced and malt-centric beers with rich, citrus flavors.” Brass Cannon Brewing’s new tasting room will cover over 1,200 square feet.
“Brass Cannon Brewing is expected to create five, full-time jobs and a projected $10,000 contribution to the local tax base,” said James Noel, Director of York County Economic Development. “The Virginia Beer Company is estimating five full-time and six part-time jobs, and contributing over $12,000 in taxes the first year. The addition of these two new popular destinations will sustain and grow our important tourism economic base.”
A passion for beer and to grow the local tourism economy inspired William & Mary graduates Chris Smith and Robby Willey to return to Williamsburg and contribute to the community both economically and philanthropically. Chris Smith of The Virginia Beer Company explains that“The growth fund investment will help us transform a derelict, semi-abandoned eyesore into a 2,500 sq. ft. taproom and 2,000 sq. ft. beer garden for out of town visitors and locals to enjoy.”
Delegate Monty Mason, a strong supporter of the growth fund, said, “The Virginia Tourism Growth Fund is a VTC program established to grow tourism development projects statewide. Eligible projects include new or expanded facilities or venues for lodging, recreation, entertainment, epicurean, cultural, or destination retail products or services designed to attract travelers to the Commonwealth.”
Both non-profit and for-profit private sector businesses are eligible to apply for VTGF grant awards. The awards cannot exceed 15 percent of project cost, and there is a minimum 1:1 locality match of VTGF grant award. The project must create net new jobs and public financing cannot exceed 30 percent of project cost.
Tourism is an instant revenue generator in Virginia. In 2014, visitors to Virginia spent $22.4 billion, which supported 217,000 jobs and contributed $1.5 billion in state and local taxes.
The craft beer industry in Virginia has an estimated economic impact of more than $1 billion and supports 8,900 jobs. With 142 breweries and counting, Virginia has become a magnet for craft brewers.
For more information on the Virginia Tourism Growth Fund, click here.