Floyd County's first microbrewery moved one step closer to opening with Friday's news that the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has granted it a license.
But owners of the nascent Shooting Creek Farm Brewery say they will wait to see whether neighbors and a pastor who contested their license would appeal the ABC's decision.
"We're happy. But we definitely know this is just another step toward opening," said brewery owner Brett Nichols.
Nichols, his wife, Johanna, and neighbors Ray Jones and Christine Blackburn applied in March for an ABC license to brew and sell up to 10,000 barrels a year of original recipe stouts and ales for off-premises consumption. Under such a license, patrons could each sample up 4 ounces of beer at a tasting room on the property.
Four neighbors and a Baptist minister had objected to the brewery opening on the existing organic farm. Their objections were based solely on innuendo, rather than fact. The group made outrageous claims that supposedly already drunk winery visitors would wreak havoc when they then visited the brewery. They also objected to increased traffic on local roads. Fortunately common sense prevailed and the ABC officer ruled that the claims were unfounded. In addition a Virginia Department of Transportation study showed that increased traffic created by the brewery would not overburden the road.
While this is a victory for the Shooting Creek owners, and Virginia craft beer fans, the battle does continue. Minister Brown continues to spew his prohibitionist propaganda. He states "This is a battle between what the people want along that road and what I've called the pro-intoxication winery people. They make their money by selling alcohol and getting people intoxicated." The opposition has 30 days in which to file an appeal.
Floyd County blogger Doug Thompson has commentary on the brewery battle here.
Previous posts on Shooting Creek Brewery here.