On Monday, Ballast Point Brewing Co. poured its first draft beer made in-house at its new East Coast operation in Daleville.
The brewery’s first keg was sent to Richmond to the governor’s office, according to James Murray, the vice president of brewing.
The 260,000-square-foot facility opened its tasting room and restaurant in June and is now brewing and packaging its beer for distribution. Ballast Point is now making its popular Sculpin, Grapefruit Sculpin and an only-in-Virginia IPA at the site and eventually will make its other signature beers there as well. The brews are put in kegs or cans or are bottled on a production line that can run 600 bottles per minute.
To celebrate the occasion, Ballast Point’s president, Marty Birkel, and Virginia Secretary of Commerce Todd Haymore visited the Botetourt County site with local officials on Thursday for a tour of the newly finished production operation. About 100 employees now work at the Daleville facility; about two-thirds were local hires and the rest moved here from San Diego, where the company is headquartered. Ballast Point expects to hire about 100 more people over the next few years, according to a company spokeswoman.
Birkel sang the praises of working with the local government and said the site is still expanding. At capacity, it can now produce nearly 200,000 barrels of beer per year, but that amount is expected to grow. The brewery’s next project is to fire up a 350-barrel copper kettle brewing system from Germany that sits scenically next to the tasting room.
Birkel said having the site in Daleville allows the brewery to ship much faster to the East Coast and abroad and to keep the beer fresh.
“We are currently exported into 13 countries, and we are looking at another five or six being shipped out of this facility,” he said.
Public tours of the site will start next month, according to company officials. The tours will show off the facility, which was nearly a $50 million investment, and offer an education about Ballast Point beer.
Ballast Point is the one of several new breweries that have opened — or are set to open — in the Roanoke Valley, and it is the first industrial-sized brewery in the region. Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery is constructing its East Coast brewing site in Roanoke, a facility that is set to begin production in 2021, and it opened a tasting room downtown a few weeks ago. Starr Hill Brewery, based in the Charlottesville area, opened a brewery and tasting room in Roanoke last week. Haymore said these breweries are having a ripple effect in the Roanoke Valley, adding jobs, using local services and creating tourism opportunities.
“The Roanoke area is a craft beer destination now,” he said. “No question about it.”