VIRGINIA SENATE PASSES NEW LICENSE FOR BREWERIES ON FARMS
-SB430 Amended for Local Government – Industry Supports Change-
RICHMOND, VA – Last week the Virginia Senate passed SB430 by a vote of 35-3. Senator John Watkins’ bill defines a brewery located on a farm and requires the brewery to grow and use its agricultural products in its beer. The bill also applies the existing farm winery state laws to the operations of these types of breweries. Finally, the bill states that local ordinances “should” not impose minimum parking, road access or road upgrade requirements if these breweries are located on land zoned agricultural unless the operations create a “substantial impact on the health, safety, or welfare of the public.” Lickinghole Creek Brewery, the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild and a coalition of six other business organizations supported the bill.
The bill will allow the Virginia ABC to proceed with developing standard guidelines for tasting rooms for all breweries, including those located on farms. In a discussion with ABC officials recently, the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild reported that the ABC believes that it has the authority it needs to protect the public and enforce ABC regulations with this new definition.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have the support of Goochland County by changing its agricultural zoning last year to include breweries and approve our Plan of Development,” stated Sean Pumphrey, Chief Beer Officer. “In less than a year we have created nine jobs (two are farm related), have started an agricultural partnership with J. Sargent Reynolds Community College and we will be protecting the agricultural history of our farm while building the first ‘Farm Brewery’ in the Commonwealth.” “Because of SB430, we hope to create even more farm brewery jobs around the Commonwealth and opportunities for people to experience Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery.”
SB430 now heads to the House of Delegates for approval. In just the last 24 hours, the business coalition involved in this bill has agreed to another amendment to help ease concerns by some in local government. Specifically, the amendment will change the minimum parking, road access and road upgrade exemption language to a local option entirely. Lickinghole Creek Brewery supports this change and will work with local government and the legislature to make this final amendment to SB430.
We encourage our customers, suppliers, friends and neighbors in joining Virginia’s business community in making history – creating the first Virginia “Farm Brewery” statute charted after the great success of Virginia’s farm wineries. Protecting agricultural land, creating rural jobs and brewing the best beer in Virginia is our goal. If you share our vision, please contact Senator John Watkins and Delegates Peter Farrell and Lee Ware to show your support. You can find their contact information at http://capwiz.com/vmaonline/state/main/?state=VA&view=myofficials#0.