San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing is preparing to open its east coast production and distribution facility in the Botetourt Center at Greenfield by late summer. Before that, however, Ballast Point cut the ribbon recently on its tasting room, which features a myriad of taps (around 100) and perhaps 40-50 different beers available at any time.
There are also majestic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a restaurant to boot. Not to mention rooms available to rent for corporate functions.
General Manager Mike Alvarado came from San Diego, looked around and decided that Botetourt County was the place for him. He went back to California, “packed up my truck,” and moved east to oversee operations here. “In my eyes to have a building this size is ideal [the 260,000 square foot former Lawrence Transportation building] and that view right there – it all comes together. I’m very excited to be here – starting serving our beers, talk about our foods.”
Jeremy Kirby, the Vice President of Retail Operations for Ballast Point said they started planning about a year and a half ago. “We looked at it and saw it was a perfect fit.” That’s also when Ballast Point met with Botetourt County administrator Gary Larrowe and other officials about coming to the area. “We just felt that this was a perfect fit for us.” Kirby says the facility here will also include a one-barrel system where Virginia-only brews can be created, “made with locally-sourced materials.”
Larrowe calls it a two year project with “one year of intensive work” to make the tasting room – and soon the production facility – a reality. “It’s been an amazing ride, to work with these folks.”
“Now,” said Larrowe, of what has been a very crowded venue so far on weekends, “it’s not just a place, it’s a destination. This is a magnet not only for people to come [for] entertainment and celebrations here, this is going to be a magnet I feel for millennials to come to this area to work and live and want to play.” Larrowe even called it Botetourt County’s “Disneyland” before they cut the ribbon.
By Gene Marrano