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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Baptists vs. Beer: Virginia Microbrewery Hangs in the Balance

The Shooting Creek Farm Brewery in Virginia might never open if a group of Baptist ministers and some neighbors get their way.

The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control held a hearing this week to listen to complaints about granting a license for the Floyd County brewery to start production. The brewery is located in a rural area, not far from the Blue Ridge Parkway in southwestern Virginia.

Brett Nichols and Ray Jones own Shooting Creek Farm Brewery. They plan to make beer in a 1,000 square foot facility located on an organic vegetable farm. There would be a tasting room at the site and the company would sell bottled beer in the area. The opening of the facility is now delayed while the ABC considers the objections to brewing beer in the area. Four area residents and a Baptist pastor filed official objections. The people against the brewery say it will increase traffic in the area and hurt property values.

A group of Baptist ministers have gone door-to-door in the area to talk to neighbors to try to grow the opposition. It will likely be September before the ABC issues a ruling on the matter.

Elsewhere in Virginia, small wineries, breweries and distilleries have proven to be extremely popular with local residents and tourists. It will be interesting to see if the ABC decides against Shooting Creek Farm Brewery, because that could put other planned operations at risk.

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