Eastern Shore’s first craft brewery takes shape

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Print this page by Greg Kremer
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Co-founders Jenna and Josh Chapman plan to operate
in an environmentally conscious manner.
Photo by Mark Rhodes

Black Narrows Brewery Co. plans to open the first craft brewery on Virginia’s Eastern Shore this year, and its owners want it to be a true reflection of the rural, coastal region.

Black Narrows plans to invest more than $350,000 in the Chincoteague brewery, which will create five jobs.  Under an agreement with the state, the brewery will buy 72 percent of its agricultural ingredients from Virginia farmers.

Co-founders Josh and Jenna Chapman say that they plan to operate in an environmentally conscious manner. Many waste products from the brewery will be returned to farms and reused.  For example, spent grain from the brewing process will be used to feed pigs.  Water from the vats will be processed and used on crops.  “All of our beers start in the farms and start in the waters around us,” says Josh Chapman. 

He describes one beer developed at the brewery that uses a type of oyster found in Chincoteague. According to Jenna Chapman, people who drink the beer say, “man, this tastes like Chincoteague.”

The brewery is small, producing around 700 barrels annually. The Chapmans say this arrangement allows them to remain true to their goal of being a “green,” local brewery, though they might not be able to serve as many people as they would like.

The company received an $11,000 state grant that will be matched by local funds and enterprise zone incentives from Accomack County.

Otherwise, the project has been self-funded by the Chapmans and their relatives.  Bob and Wendy Huntley, Jenna Chapman’s parents, “put every dollar they have into this,” Josh says.

The Chapmans say that 10 percent of their gross profits will be donated to charity.  Half of the donation will be given to a different local nonprofit each month, such as a PTA, library or fire department, while the rest will go to a global cause.

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