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Hops processing facility expected to boost craft beer industry

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A commercial hops processing facility planned for Loudoun County could have a big impact on Virginia’s rapidly growing craft beer industry, according to Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

The governor’s office said Friday that Black Hops Farm LLC will invest $1 million to build the facility near Leesburg and convert 15 acres of pasture land into a hopsyard for growing hops, a common ingredient in beer. The project is expected to create 11 jobs.

In a statement, McAuliffe described the processing facility as the first in the mid-Atlantic region, and predicted it would revolutionize craft beer production in Virginia by encouraging more farmers to grow hops.

“This is a significant win for the commonwealth as it fills a critical need for current and future craft brewers and builds on my administration’s efforts to increase Virginia’s position in the fast growing craft beer industry,” the governor said in a statement.

McAuliffe approved a $40,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to assist Loudoun County with the project.

Black Hops Farm has made a commitment  to source at least 3,500 pounds, 60 percent of its hops, from Virginia producers during the next three years.

“The construction of this hops drying and pelletizing facility will support Loudoun’s emerging farm brewery sector, and strengthen the link between the county’s rural and urban economies,” Loudoun County Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer said in a statement. “It will encourage more local entrepreneurs to grow hops, because having the ability to process them will expand the market for them. This is the catalyst that we need to increase agricultural production of hops in Loudoun County.”

The company’s plans include investment in site improvements, buildings, and equipment needed to convert the former residence and horse farm into a commercial hops production and processing facility.

A key role for the new processing facility will be to provide hops for Commonwealth Gin, which is being produced by Richmond-based James River Distillery. The goal for Commonwealth Gin to make it a 100 percent Virginia-sourced spirit.

 

 

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