It was slightly more than one year ago that Ballast Point Brewing Co. announced Daleville would become the home of its new East Coast location. On Monday, the 128 taps in the two-story tasting room and kitchen began to pour.
The highly anticipated brewery opened its tasting room to the public at noon with a crowd already waiting by the door. This is the company’s first step in establishing its East Coast production facility, and brewery officials expect to begin brewing beer by the end of the summer. For now, beer will be brought from the company’s existing brewery in San Diego to sustain the tasting room, which takes up about 18,000 square feet of the 259,000-square-foot property.
This is the first industrial-sized brewery in the Roanoke Valley, and its tasting room is expected to be a major tourist draw. More than 100 people showed up at Monday’s opening, a mix of Botetourt County officials, economic development specialists, Ballast Point staff and curious residents who wanted to get an early look at the refurbished property, the former Lawrence Transportation building in the Greenfield industrial park.
“Ballast Point will quickly become the Disney World of Botetourt County,” said County Administrator Gary Larrowe.
The tasting room accommodates about 200 people. The center of the room is dominated by a 600-square-foot bar with 96 taps where people can order drinks and food. All of Ballast Point’s standard beers are available, including the popular Grapefruit Sculpin IPA. Most draft beers are $5 to $7. The tasting room also features an outdoor seating area with a fire pit and a second-level seating space that will have its own ordering service area and offer sweeping floor-to-ceiling views of the rolling hills of Botetourt County. That space can seat about 76 people and can be reserved for private gatherings.
The facility also features a 100-seat banquet room, a 14-tap growler filling station and a small space for retail, including bottled beers and gift items.
Food is ordered at the bar and delivered by servers. Executive Chef Colin MacLaggan said after coming from the West Coast, he is excited to cook with the changing seasons. The menu will offer lighter fare during spring and summer and use heavier sauces in the cooler months, he said. The menu offers plates to share as well as salads, burgers, sandwiches and desserts.
“The menu has an East-meets-West flavor with staples from Ballast Point’s California kitchens plus Southern standards,” said General Manager Mike Alvarado, who moved to the Roanoke Valley about six weeks ago from San Diego.
Nearly 50 people were hired to work in the tasting room and kitchen, and the company expects to hire about 145 more to work in manufacturing and other functions.
Jeremy Kirby, vice president of retail operations at Ballast Point, said small-batch beer eventually will be brewed on site; it will be exclusive to the Daleville location and only sold on draft there. When the brewery begins production later this summer, he said it will allow Ballast Point to deliver its beers around the East Coast much faster and its beer will be much fresher.
Ballast Point said it was opening its Daleville location last spring, on the heels of an announcement that Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery had chosen Roanoke for its East Coast facility. While Deschutes isn’t expected to begin brewing until 2021, Ballast Point had a goal to open much faster. The company began construction immediately after acquiring the Greenfield property in September. The site will include 100- and 300-barrel brewing systems and is expected to produce up to 240,000 barrels of beer a year. The tasting room is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Staff writer Rachel Hicks contributed information to this report.