By DCBeer contributor Katie McConnell. Disclosure: the author is an employee of the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development
Last week, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors passed a new ordinance allowing breweries in Loudoun’s agriculturally zoned land. This action gives the green light to the six farm breweries that are looking to set up shop in Loudoun.
Here's a quick overview of the ordinance's technical details: according to the Commonwealth, a farm brewery — or “limited brewery” — is a brewery on agriculturally zoned land that grows agricultural products (barley, hops, pumpkins, etc.) on premise to be used in beer production. A limited brewery can produce up to 15,000 barrels of beer annually. Per Loudoun’s ordinance, farm breweries must also be located on at least ten acres of land, and its building structure cannot exceed 12,000 square feet — plus another 5,000 square feet of storage yard. Loudoun is the first county in Virginia to incorporate the state code into its local zoning ordinance.
Among the six breweries slated to open is Flying Dog’s Farmworks Brewery. The brewery, which plans on focusing on highly experimental beers, will be collocated with Lucketts Mill and HopWorks, a hops yard and processing facility. Other farm breweries in the works include Old 690 Brewing Company, Dirt Farm Brewing, Barnhouse Brewery, Quattro Goombas Brewery, and B Chord Brewing Company. These breweries will be in good company, joining the eight breweries currently operating in the county’s suburban east and incorporated western towns, including Adroit Theory Brewing Company, Beltway Brewing, and Lost Rhino (which announced expansion plans earlier this week). Read more about DCBeer’s experience touring western Loudoun breweries here.
County officials expect the first farm breweries to be operational by the spring, and they are bullish on the industry. According to Loudoun County Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer, the county is fielding calls daily from people interested in starting a brewery or growing hops or specialty grains.