BRISTOL,VA (WJHL) – U.S. Senator Mark Warner visited the region on Tuesday to reveal the new Southwest Virginia Mountain Brew Trail.
The announcement was made at Studio Brew in downtown Bristol along with members from the Bristol Chamber of Commerce.
The trail currently consists of 16 breweries, including three in Bristol. Virginia is home to 206 licensed breweries. According to the state the craft bear industry contributes more than $9 billion annually to economy – employing more than 28,000 people.
In addition, Senator Warner visited Mountain Empire Community College for a special demonstration of the unmanned aerial vehicle program.
Virginia is home to one of six FAA-approved sites across the country where researchers are testing the safest and most effective ways to incorporate drones into the existing airspace.
Full release below:
WASHINGTON — As part of Virginia Craft Beer Month, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), along with the Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau, helped launch the new Southwest Virginia Mountain Brew Trail. Today’s announcement was made at Studio Brew in downtown Bristol.
The trail currently boasts 16 craft breweries, including three in Bristol, with additional breweries currently under construction across the region. Virginia is home to 206 licensed breweries, with the craft beer industry contributing more than $9 billion annually to the Commonwealth’s economy and employing over 28,000 people in production, distribution, and retail.
“The Mountain Brew Trail is the product of years of conversations and planning between local stakeholders and my office, all working together to highlight the success of this growing industry in the region. During my time as Governor, heritage trails like these, which highlighted heritage music and local artisans, helped us bring new jobs and attract business and tourism to southwest Virginia,” said Sen. Warner. “I’m proud to have helped lead the way in the development of this project, which I know will help propel the region’s economy while giving visitors a good look at all the natural and cultural resources that Southwest Virginia has to offer.”
Virginia Tourism Corporation President and CEO Rita McClenny agrees with Sen. Warner about the importance of craft beer to the region.
“Craft beer is a booming industry in Virginia, and an important regional asset for Southwest Virginia,” said McClenny. “Visitors and Virginians alike can now come to Southwest Virginia and experience beautiful outdoors, arts, culinary delights, and music heritage, all connected by the Mountain Brew Trail. There’s no better way to get a taste of the local flavor to show visitors why Virginia is for Craft Beer Lovers.”
The Mountain Brew Trail currently consists of the following breweries: Bristol Station Brews & Taproom (Bristol); Bull & Bones Brewhaus & Grill (Blacksburg); Busted Still Brewery (Gate City); Chaos Mountain Brewing (Callaway); Creek Bottom Brewing Company (Galax); Damascus Brewery (Damascus); Foggy Ridge Cider (Dugspur), Holston River Brewing Co. (Bristol, Tenn.); Right Mind Brewing (Blacksburg), Right Turn, Clyde Brewing Company (Narrows); Rising Silo Brewery (Blacksburg); The River Company Brewing (Radford); Studio Brew (Bristol); Sugar Hill Brewing Co. (St. Paul); Sunken City Brewing Company (Hardy); and Wolf Hills Brewing Co. (Abingdon). Three more, Buffalo Mountain Brewery (Floyd), Headspace Brewing Company (Marion) and State Street Brewing (Bristol), will be opening soon.
“This has truly been a regional effort,” said Matt Bolas, Executive Director of the Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The Southwest Virginia Mountain Brew Trail is the culmination of a great deal of hard work from all parties involved, particularly Senator Warner, who has championed it from the very beginning. Craft beer is booming and we believe, when paired with music, outdoor recreation and the many other wonderful assets this region has to offer, it will certainly increase tourism, which increases visitor spending.”
Back in 2015, Sen. Warner spearheaded the Southwest Virginia Craft Beer Summit, a one-day event in Abingdon, Va., sponsored by the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation. This initiative brought together industry leaders and community stakeholders to discuss economic development opportunities surrounding craft beer, including the development of this trail. As Governor, Sen. Warner helped push for similar initiatives aimed at bringing economic opportunities to Southwest Virginia through tourism, including the creation of The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, ‘Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network and Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway.