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Smartmouth Brewing Co. to open second brewery in Virginia Beach

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Smartmouth Brewing Co, based in Norfolk, will open its second brewery in Virginia Beach on Dec. 16. Mayor Will Sessoms will lead a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon for Pilot House a 9,457-square-foot facility located at 313 32nd St.

Pilot House will offer the same flagship beers — Alter Ego Saison, Murphy's Law Amber Ale and Rule G IPA as well as new limited release beers — to the resort district. The company leased the former U.S. Post Office building and renovated it to include a small-batch, 10-barrel brewery system, private event space and an 8,000-square-foot tasting room with a back deck.

Smartmouth worked with several Hampton Roads companies during the construction phase, including WPA Architects, Spacemakers and Benevolent Design.

“Smartmouth Brewing Company has transformed the 1958-era post office into a new and very distinct brewery in the resort district,” Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren D. Harris said in a statement.  “Not only will they bring their award-winning beers to our city, they have added 14 new employees in Virginia Beach.”

Porter Hardy, president of SmartMouth Brewing, described Pilot House “as a tribute to the local waterfront and aviation community as well as the location’s core function of producing experimental and creative beers. A pilot batch is the term used to describe the trial brew of a new beer in the brew house.”

The first two beers brewed on-site, First! IPA and Crooked Cane Candy Cane Stout, will be available on opening day in addition to a new barrel-aged cherry stout known as Rubidus Nox.

Smartmouth Brewing currently produces 4,400 barrels of craft beer each year in its Norfolk location. Smartmouth expects to brew an additional 600 to 800 barrels a year at the new site. The Virginia Beach Development Authority previously awarded an Economic Development Investment Program grant in the amount of $20,000 based on the capital investment in the city.

“The Virginia Beach craft beer community is growing significantly,” said Michelle Chapleau, the city's business development coordinator. “It is a collaborative community, and it not only attracts visitors to the city but also is a strong point of pride for locals.”

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