Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 12:15 am | Updated: 12:00 am, Wed Apr 2, 2014.
A brewery is coming soon to Waters Place by the Culpeper Depot.
Stanardsville native Kenny Thacker, brew master, said Friday he was in the process of moving Beer Hound Brewery from its current location along U.S. 29 in Greene County to downtown Culpeper with an estimated opening in June.
He has been running the nanobrewery — producing no more than three barrels of beer in each batch — for less than two years in a shopping center on the northbound side of U.S. 29 near the Ruckersville Sheetz.
Thacker decided to move because he expects a lot more foot traffic in downtown Culpeper.
He should realize that and then some in his new location at Waters Place, a three-story building next to the railway, steps from bustling Davis Street.
The circa 1920s structure adjoins the Depot which houses the Visitors Center in an area where special events abound like the popular Third Thursday Summer Concert Series hosted by Culpeper Renaissance, Inc.
Beer Hound Brewery will occupy an approximate 2,800-square-feet space on the first floor of Waters Place fronting on Culpeper Street on the side closest to the Depot.
Thacker said the business would have a patio out front with tables and an inside tasting room, where customers can buy a pint to drink on site or fill up a growler to go.
“We want to build a synergy with the other local businesses and restaurants,” he said.
“One of the reasons we picked that location is because of all the special events.”
CRI Board President Kelsey Carlson was thrilled to hear Beer Hound had chosen downtown Culpeper for its new home.
“CRI’s year-long calendar of special events is designed to fortify a thriving district for all of our existing businesses and encourage new ones to join our community,” Carlson said. “We welcome this exciting new addition with open arms.”
On April 26, in fact, CRI hosts the beer-themed Gnarly Hops & Barley Festival in the Spencer Street parking lot featuring live music and more than 70 different beer selections Gnarly Hops aside, Thacker noticed a craft beer void in the area.
“You have breweries in Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Warrenton and Harrisonburg,” he said. “Right in the center of that is Culpeper, which does not have a brewery.”
In construction his whole life, Thacker got into beer making five years ago when the housing market crashed.
“After 25 years in construction, I talked my wife into letting me buy a home brew kit,” he said.
Then in late 2012, Thacker opened Beer Hound Brewery, named for a dog on the home brew kit. His next move involves Culpeper, and Waters Place, an ongoing development project of Charlottesville-based Octagon Partners.
Vacant prior to Octagon’s purchase of the building in 2006, the nearly century-old structure houses condos upstairs while the planned commercial component has been slow to evolve due to the economy and building damage in the 2011 earthquake.
Beer Hound Brewery is slated to be the first commercial tenant in Waters Place.
Examples of the local brand’s brews include the Apollo, a refreshing wheat beer following a traditional German recipe, according to the company web site, or the Archie, described as having a malty nose with a hint of chocolate. The beverages currently go for $4 per pint or $12 to fill a growler, according to the web site.
In a related story, in November, Culpeper Town Council approved a change to the local ordinance removing the definition for microbrewery and replacing it with “beverage manufacturing shop.” The use is allowed in the Commerical-2 district in a space not to exceed 3,000-square-feet with a conditional use permit.
The ordinance change was precipitated by another request to locate a brewery on South East Street, around the corner from Waters Place. That request has yet to materialize.
Though Culpeper County does not have any breweries, it has Old House Vineyards and the Belmont Farm Distillery, the only legal producer of moonshine in Virginia.