According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the latest unemployment rate data indicates that the Commonwealth of Virginia has an unemployment rate of 4%. The counties of Southwest and South Central Virginia, however, have the highest rates of unemployment averaging between 5-6.9%. This is why the effort by some Baptist ministers in the vicinity of Floyd, Virginia, to stop a new brewery from opening in August is so bizarre.
Brett Nichols has been waiting for the opening of Shooting Creek Brewery for months now. The area between Floyd and the Blue Ridge Parkway is riddled with wineries of all sorts, from Blacksnake Meadery to the Villa Appalaccia Winery.
Sources indicate that upwards to 30%, if not more, of the local economy is tied up in winery-related tourism around Floyd.
According to reports by neighbors in the vicinity of Shooting Creek Brewery, a group of three adult male Baptist ministers have cased each house on the road leading to the brewery site. Nichols first became aware of the situation when the ministers inadvertently visited the home of some of Nichols’ business partners who live in the same area. There are signs that the group opposed to the brewery has been going door-to-door throughout the county, using church members to help spread the word. The group opposes the brewery on Biblical grounds.
What do they mean "on Biblical grounds"? Where do these people get this biblical anti-alcohol rhetoric? Just a reminder to the Baptist ministers, Jesus' first public miracle took place at a wedding party and it involved changing water into wine. And then there's the Last Supper, where wine was also served. Let's hope the VABC is open to common sense when they review the brewery's application. When contacted for comment, Shooting Creek partner Ray Jones replied simply "What we are doing is legal and lawful in the state of Virginia and we have worked with all the appropriate government authorities at the local, state and federal level."
Shooting Creek Brewery is a family-owned, artisanal brewery located on Five Penny Organic Farm near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd County. Partners Brett Nichols and Ray Jones plan to feature "unique Handmade American Farmhouse Ales borrowing from the rich tradition and characteristics of farm breweries in the UK, Belgium and France." They eventually will have six ales on tap ranging from an amber rye to a stout.
Complete Star City Harbinger article here.
Update, August 5: Ray Jones reports that the VABC hearing originally scheduled for Monday, August 4 has been rescheduled for Wednesday, August 13th at 10:00 am at VABC Regional Offices in Roanoke. Stay tuned.