Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What is a microbrewery?

Craft breweries, microbreweries, brew pubs — what’s the difference?
According to Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association, there are four categories craft beer brewers: microbreweries, brew pubs, contract brewing companies and regional craft breweries.
» Microbreweries typically brew fewer than 15,000 barrels of beer per year, much of it sold off-site, through wholesalers or direct to retailers, with some of the product sold on-site at their tap rooms.
» Brew pubs are a combination restaurant-brewery, with beer brewed primarily for sale in the restaurant and bar.
» Contract breweries hire another brewery to make its beer, or hires additional breweries to add to the beer it brews.
» Regional craft breweries are independent breweries that can make traditional or innovative beers.
Watson did, however, point out that different states have different regulations and definitions can vary.
“Usually, a microbrewery can only sell the beer it produces,” Watson said. “They are very locally focused … it’s been a dynamic industry with a lot of changes.”

The announcement that a new microbrewery, Ballad Brewing, will be opening on Craghead Street in April brings a second microbrewery to Danville — the first to open here was 2 Witches Winery & Brewing Co. on Trade Street, where they not only brew their own beers but bottle their own wines.
Co-owner Ethan Brown said he considers 2 Witches even smaller than “micro” — it’s more of a nanobrewery, he said.
Brown said 2 Witches has a 3.5-barrel system that lets them produce about 45 different beer styles over the course of a year. Typically, he said, they have eight taps operating with beers rotating through at different times of the year.
“We were Virginia’s first example of a winery and brewery under the same roof,” Brown said, noting that the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control didn’t allow the combination prior to their existence — though other wineries are now looking at adding breweries. “We were persistent.”
For now, Brown said, they are not looking at expanding the system.
“We think staying small is good for us,” Brown said. “You can always expand — the challenge is growing the business.”
Denice Thibodeau is a reporter for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at or (434) 791-7985.

With craft brewery, pair continues River District transformation

The two men who have partnered in two successful development projects in the River District — the Pemberton Lofts on Bridge Street and the Continental Lofts on Craghead Street — have teamed up again to bring a craft brewery to the district.

Ross Fickenscher and Garrett Shifflett are developing 600 Craghead St., which will have two commercial spaces at street level — including Ballad Brewing — and 56 apartments on the upper levels.
On Tuesday, Todd Haymore, the state’s secretary of commerce and trade, and Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, were in Danville for the official announcement and to present a check for $90,805 from the Virginia Tourism Growth Fund to Fickenscher and Shifflett for the project.
Haymore said the popularity of craft breweries has become “instant revenue generators” in Virginia, bringing in tourism dollars, jobs and tax revenues that have added up to $1 billion in economic impact and employing nearly 9,000 people in the state. He said there are roughly 160 craft brewers in the state, with new ones opening “fairly rapidly.”
“The craft beer business in particular is booming in Virginia,” Haymore said, noting that Danville’s historic warehouses lend themselves to this type of development.
McClenny said travelers often look for unique experiences, and small, local, craft breweries can provide that.
“Visitors want to try something that can only take place at that time and place,” McClenny said.
Fickenscher said entrance to the tap room and brewery itself will be made from Colquhoun Street side of the building, while the entrance at 600 Craghead St. will take tenants into the apartments.
The project is expected to be completed in April.
The brewery will have a total of 23 barrels for production — 20 of which will be for larger production runs, while three will be used for smaller batch pilot — or experimental — brews. The various beers will be available to customers in the tap room by the glass or to take home.
“Ballad Brewing will initially produce three or four different flagship styles of beer and will also offer a wider variety of offerings in the tasting room,” Fickenscher said in a news release from Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office — and which he confirmed at the announcement. “For the first six months, these products will be served exclusively in the brewery’s tasting room.”
As the brewing process moves along, bottled and keg beer will be available for broader distribution, Fickenscher said.
“We’re excited to start brewing,” Fickenscher said.
John Andorfer will be the head brewer. He and his wife, Kathie, moved to Danville about a year ago, so they could be closer to her mother.
They lived in Connecticut for 12 years, where John became fascinated with beer brewing and ultimately became the head brewer at Cottrell Brewing Co. in Pawcatuck.
That, however, was an established brewery, John said, while looking at the dirt floors where assorted pipes had been laid for the Ballad Brewing.
“They’re getting ready to pour the concrete floor now,” John said. “This is a new experience, getting to see it from the ground up.”
The 20-barrel brew system will produce about a dozen different beers, some of which will rotate seasonally, John said. The three-barrel system will be for testing new flavors.
Danville Mayor John Gilstrap thanked Fickenscher and Shifflett for their part in the River District’s transformation. He said this third project will bring the partners’ total investment in the River District to about $28 million.
“You have played a major role in redeveloping the heart of our city,” Gilstrap said.

Read full article here!
Denice Thibodeau is a reporter for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at or (434) 791-7985.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Design measures approved for renovations to Hughes and Venable buildings

The River District Design Commission voted unanimously at its meeting Thursday to approve the design plans for the renovations of the historical Hughes and Venable buildings at 528 and 536 Craghead St.
Rick Barker, CEO of Supply Resources and owner of Rick Barker Properties, has bought several buildings on the 500 block of Craghead Street and has developed several into mixed-use properties.
The buildings are being renovated to include four residential storefronts and residential apartments. The storefronts will be on the first floor of both buildings, with the apartments on the upper floors and on the rear half of the Hughes building.
The buildings are historic, and Barker has been approved for the historical tax credits through both the state and the federal government.
Both buildings will receive new roofs, according to the design plans. The Hughes building will be painted beige to cover the current paint color, and the Venable building will remain the color of the current exposed brick.
Windows in the Hughes building that are currently bricked-up will be reopened. Barker will be adding another door and an external staircase in order to give people more access to the apartments. They also plan to add outdoor patio space behind the building
These plans still have to go before the planning commission, but board member Courtney Nicholas said, “I am excited to see positive growth on Craghead Street and I have been impressed with the projects that Mr. Barker has done so far.”
Ceillie ​Simkiss reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at or (434) 791-7981.

City marks completion of trail extension over bridge

Danville officials on Thursday officially marked the opening of the Riverwalk Trail extension over the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge. The extension was built to connect the north and south banks of the Riverwalk Trail.
To mark the opening, a ceremony was held on the south side of the bridge near the Main Street Plaza and JTI Fountain.
“In the 1990s, the city, along with federal and state partners, began to construct a river walk trail system,” Mayor John Gilstrap said at the ceremony. “This trail was created to encourage the community to begin embracing the river as an amenity for recreation and leisure.
“ …. Today, we celebrate an extension of this trail across the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge. …. On behalf of Danville City Council, I want to encourage the community to explore and enjoy the Dan River and join us in celebrating this new addition.”
Use of the bridge lane as a pedestrian and bicycle trail will permit trail users to go back and forth from the Main Street Plaza and trailhead on the south bank of the Dan River to the trail on the river’s north bank. 
The trail extension was created by closing the right northbound lane of the bridge. Burleigh Construction, the contractor, used 180 cubic yards of concrete and more than 10,000 pounds of reinforced steel.
To protect pedestrians and bicyclists from traffic, the contractor installed more than 800 feet of handrail was installed on the west side of the trail and more than 800 feet of California Rail on the east side.
“We understand this to be one of the few projects in Virginia to use this type of rail,” Gilstrap said.
Construction began in June 2015 and was completed earlier this year at a cost of $1.7 million. The project was paid for with a combination of state, federal and local money.
The project is part of the city’s River District Development Project, which is in its sixth year and has generated more than $100 million in private investment, outpacing public seeding by three-fold.
The Riverwalk Trail continues to expand and is now 10 miles in total length, lining the Dan River from Angler’s Park on the east side of the city to Ballou Park on the west side of the city. Four public trailheads are in place that allow pedestrians to park their vehicles and connect to the trail. The trailheads are located at Angler’s Park, Dan Daniel Memorial Park, the Crossing at the Dan, and Main Street Plaza.
The Riverwalk and mountain bike trail systems in Danville host a number of trail events, including bike races, trail runs, charity walks, marathons, canine events, environmental education activities, and park special events.
To hold an event, contact the Parks and Recreation Department, which manages the trail system . Trail maps and trail event applications are available online at

Farm to table: Menu adjusts to reflect fresh produce, meats other foods available

Chef Chris King and Darcy Cropp are two of five partners at the 616 Farm to Table restaurant, with their responsibility being the day-to-day operation.
Their goal has been to provide interesting menus using local ingredients, providing some of those ingredients from their own farm in Providence, North Carolina.
“We’ve been farming for about 10 years now,” King said as he prepped various breads for the oven — made from scratch with local flour produced in Ashland, North Carolina. “I came from Ashland, where there has been a big farm-to-table movement … we wanted to do that here.”
King said they have been pretty successful at sourcing local foods from Virginia and North Carolina, but there are a few products they have had problems finding, such as cooking oils, salt and pepper, and items like butter and cheese they haven’t been able to find at prices to fit their budget.
“We can’t buy cheese at $20 a pound; we’d have to raise menu prices to a level people couldn’t afford,” Cropp said. “We have to set our menu at an appropriate price.”
Walnut Winds Farm in Blairs, for instance, is one that provides food for the menu year round, King said, because they have huge greenhouses that can provide fresh items, such as cabbage, kale and tomatoes, year-round.
“We’re at about 90 percent local,” Cropp said. “Most of what we serve is delivered weekly, and if it’s not available, we won’t have it.”
“We’re working at 100 percent, but it’s tough,” King added.
Instead, the menu gets adjusted to reflect the fresh produce, meats and other foods that are available at that time.
They are proud of what they produce at their own farm — pork, chicken for both eggs and meat, various produce, herbs and cut flowers — and what they have found so far at about two dozen local farms, wineries (Tomahawk Mill makes vinegars that are “impressive,” King said) and local farmers markets.
Cropp said they are always interested in farmers who do “niche gardening” — growing things other people don’t.
“We’re getting in some purple carrots today,” she said Wednesday.
The restaurant was recently chosen as one of the 32 winners of a Virginia Tourism Corporation survey of favorite restaurants that focus on local ingredients.
Patricia Keppel, digital marketing content specialist for the Virginia Tourism Corporation said the survey was done during the annual culinary challenge that was marketed on the Virginia is for Lovers website and Facebook page.
Keppel said different surveys were done each week, focused on different types of cuisine.
For the “local favorites” category, Keppel said, much of the food had to be made from local ingredients.
“The primary ingredients all had to be locally grown,” Keppel said.
The 616 was the only restaurant in Southside to make that list, with most of the winners being located in larger cities.

Beyond the menu

Beyond the menu, the restaurant provides several entertainment options each month, works in fundraisers for various local charities and sees occasional groups of curious children — like the group from the Piedmont Region Summer Governor’s School who stopped in to watch bread being made and learn about local ingredients Wednesday.
The students were taking a “kitchen chemistry” class with teacher Ginny Farthing, who said the one-week class was for fourth- and fifth-grade students, with sixth- and seventh-graders scheduled for the following week.
“We were thankful to able to come and see what a commercial kitchen does,” Farthing said. “It was a great coincidence that they were baking bread today; we’re going to bake bread tomorrow.”
For the next several months, the third Thursday of the month will be Community Day, Cropp said. The restaurant has invited local nonprofits to participate in the program, which will earn them 20 percent of the sales between 5 to 6 p.m.
“We’re all about supporting the community, local businesses and local farmers,” Cropp said.
There is occasional entertainment, ranging from musicians to poetry slams — but, Cropp said honestly, “We can’t afford to pay them.”
Instead, performers get a free meal and can put out a tip bucket.
“We’re trying to do what we can to support them,” Cropp said.

The owner

Steve DelGiorno owns the building and partnered with King and Cropp to operate the restaurant.
DelGiorno said he is pleased they are succeeding, as evidenced by the restaurant making to the “Local Favorites” list in the state’s annual culinary challenge.
“The local category was perfect for us,” DelGiorno said.
He doesn’t spend a lot of time at the restaurant, but does stop by when he is in Danville — which may become more often in the future, since he and his family are in the process of moving here from Nashville.
But still, DelGiorno said, he won’t be there all the time.
“I can’t be there full time and be doing everything else I’m doing,” DelGiorno said, laughing.
DelGiorno recently partnered with another local developer — Rick Barker — to purchase the former Exxon gas station at 1009 Main St. and convert it into a coffee shop, cafĂ© and wine bar.
DelGiorno said they expect to close on the sale in early July, but have already hired an architect to begin making plans for the conversion. He also said he has a few other projects in the works, but is not ready to announce them as yet.
Denice Thibodeau is a reporter for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at or (434) 791-7985.

Commission OKs loft-style apartment project in River District

A project that would bring nearly two-dozen loft-style apartments to High Street received approval from the River District Design Commission Thursday afternoon.
The commission approved — by a 6-0 vote — a certificate of appropriateness for River District Lofts LLC’s plans to bring 23 loft-style apartments and 25 parking spaces to 549 High St.
Commissioner Courtney Nicholas did not attend the meeting.
Patrick Reilly, managing partner with River District Lofts, said during an interview Thursday he hopes construction will begin in August, with the rental units ready for occupancy in fall 2017.
Rehab Development Inc, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is the developer converting the area — which included two buildings, one of which collapsed — into the apartments, a courtyard and parking lot.
“We thought the building was naturally suited to be a good building for apartments.” Reilly said.
Most of the apartments will range from 700-900 square feet and include wide open spaces, hardwood floors and granite countertops, Reilly said.
“They’ll have a very unique feel to them,” Reilly said.
Rent will be from $900-$1,200 per month, depending on the unit’s size, he said. Rent will include cable, Internet and utilities.
The area at 549 High St. had two adjacent buildings, one of which collapsed, said Corrie Teague, Danville’s assistant director of economic development. Some of the exterior walls were saved, she added.
Railing and gates for the entrance to the parking lot will be installed, as well as a courtyard for tenants, Teague said. Each unit in the four-story building — except those on the top floor — will have exterior entrances, she said. The top floor will have a common entrance and a corridor.
Redevelopment of the existing structure will require replacement windows, replacement roofing, handrails and exterior stairs with corrugated metal awnings to be installed. An aluminum gate is also planned for the parking lot entrance.
Commission Chairman George Davis III asked Teague — who spoke on behalf River Street Lofts — if the developer was going to leave a piece of brick wall standing, and expressed safety concerns. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources is requiring them to maintain the wall — which will be used to create an interior courtyard — in order to receive tax credits, Teague said.
“It will be stabilized,” Teague told the commission.
The Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority acquired the property for no money in the summer of 2014 due to outstanding code violations, Teague said. At the time, the buildings were used for storage, she said.
The DRHA began reaching out to developers to gauge interest in performing a redevelopment project there. Rehab Builders showed interest, with the city and the firm working together on the project’s parameters, Teague said.
Reilly is president of Rehab Development; Rehab Builders is the High Street project’s contractor. Dunn Dalton in Kinston, North Carolina, is the architect, and Rehab Engineering will be the project’s engineer. River District Lofts is a real estate entity formed to hold the project, Reilly said.
Rehab Development’s construction company performed the design and building work for Pemberton and Continental Lofts, among others.
Reilly — also a managing partner of Ferrell Historic Lofts at 533 Main St. — is working on getting tax credits from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources for the project. He said he hopes to get approval within the next 30 days, before the department forwards it to the National Park Service.
In another matter, the commission voted to approve installation of a personal electronics charging station — donated by Womack Electric — at Main Street Plaza. The station will include a 3-inch-by-8-inch dedication sign.
Planning Director Ken Gillie told the commission there would be additional stations installed in other parts of the city following the commission’s approval.
John Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at or (434) 791-7987.

Business Appreciation Week - 2016 - Scavenger Hunt Photos

Danville coffee shop helping the River District gain state wide attention

DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) A coffee shop in Danville is getting statewide recognition. 
Brewed Awakening relocated to Danville from Martinsville last August. 
The 2016 Virginia Living Magazine named it one of the best locally-owned coffee shop in the central region behind two others from Richmond. 
Co-owner John Hale says the award shows a level of consistency and ability to grow a customer base quickly. 
"Frankly I think it just speaks well of the entire River District. It doesn't just speak well of Brewed Awakening, yes we are the awardee we are proud of that. But really we are just one of many good places to be, right here," Hale said. 
Hale says he and his wife see their business as an anchor on the south end of the River District. 
He says small businesses working together to improve the area is one small step in the right direction.

Virginia Living - Best of Virginia 2016

Congratulations to Brewed Awakening for being voted the third BEST COFFEE SHOP in Central Virginia! (PAGE 35)