Loudoun County Brewers Get Organized

The Loudoun brewery scene has always been tight-knit, sociable and collaborative, but now it’s also official: The charter of the Loudoun County Brewers Association was adopted Monday at Ocelot Brewing Company.

“It started at the first-ever LoCo Brewfest,” said new LCBA Chairman Chris Burns, of Old Ox Brewery. “It gave us all an opportunity to promote ourselves as a group and show what Loudoun County can do, but it also gave us an opportunity to come together and brew a collaborative beer, which is a ton of fun.”

That collaborative brew tradition, by the way, continues this year with a milk stout. Each brewery will unveil its spin on the beer in February.

“Through that collaborative process, we got an opportunity to share our experiences,” Burns said. “A lot of them were very similar, and it led to the idea that, you know what, we should do this more often.”

Now there are monthly meetings and an executive committee with members serving staggered two-year terms. Kevin Bills of Corcoran Company, one of the county’s oldest breweries, said that he expects that most of the 15 or 16 breweries present for Monday’s vote to join the association. Bills is the secretary-treasurer of the association.

“It’s not going to be a dues-prohibitive organization, because our purposes aren’t as large,” Bills said. Instead, it will be a place for brewers to promote Loudoun beer as well as share information, tips, experiences, and laws.

Adrien Widman, who played host to the vote at Ocelot Brewing Company and is one of the association’s two directors, said that same spirit helped him when he started Ocelot. Although it only opened in August 2015, Ocelot is now one of oldest and most recognized breweries in Loudoun’s booming beer scene.

“The community was just so cohesive and together and helping each other the whole time,” Widman said. “When I was getting the place open, I traveled to all the other brewers in the county asking for advice.”

“In my experience, the more brewers get together and talk, the better the beer gets,” said Dean Lake of Dog Money Restaurant and Brewery, one of the county’s newest breweries and the association’s vice chairman. “The more we share our experiences, our technical knowledge and our technical experience, the better the product is going to be. We’re going to be able to offer Loudoun County better beer, because we are together as a group of Loudoun brewers.”

Burns agreed the association will help market Loudoun’s brewery scene.

“Loudoun County is DC’s wine country, but there’s absolutely no reason on earth we shouldn’t be DC’s beer country,” Burns said.

The association includes current breweries, breweries that are soon to open in Loudoun, and associate members from supporting businesses like hops farms and malt wholesalers.

Members of the newly formed LCBA credited the Loudoun Wineries Association for guidance on their bylaws, and Visit Loudoun for bringing them all together at the first LoCo Brewfest.

The Loudoun County Brewers Association’s first event is already planned: At the end of DC radio station DC101’s FeBREWary event, Loudoun breweries will unveil the products of the collaboration brew begun at Beltway Brewing Company.  Each brewer’s take on the milk stout began in Beltway’s tanks in December and will be served at this year’s LoCo Brewfest in May.

The breweries that worked on forming the brewers association include Adroit Theory Brewing Company, Barnhouse Brewery, Belly Love, Beltway Brewing Company, Black Hoof, Black Walnut, Corcoran Brewing Company, Crooked Run, Dirt Farm Brewing, Dog Money, Lost Rhino Brewing Company, Loudoun Brewing, Ocelot Brewery, Old 690, Old Ox Brewery, Quattro Goomba’s Brewery, Solace Brewing, Twinpanzee, and Vanish. In addition to Burns, Lake, Bills, and Widman founding officers include Tolga Baki of Belly Love, director.

“I think any opportunity that we have to get together and share stories is always a good time, and something that we all look forward to,” Burns said. “And having a structured way to do that—a structured way to grab a pint—is always important.”

This article was updated Jan. 24  to correct the spelling of Adrien Widman’s name and include the founding breweries and officers.

rgreene@loudounnow.com
@RenssGreene

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