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Craft Breweries Triple During McAuliffe Administration

As Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe prepares to leave office early next year, he can look to a record of economic development that even some Republicans applaud. But there’s one particular industry that the governor has tapped more than others. 

Craft beer. It’s not just for beer snobs anymore. Since Terry McAuliffe was elected governor, the number of active breweries in Virginia has tripled, from 61 in 2013 to 179 today. McAuliffe even appears in this promotional video celebrating August as Craft Beer Month.

“There’s nothing like enjoying a cold Virginia beer here in the Commonwealth. That’s why I even installed a kegerator at the Executive Mansion.”

McAuliffe installed that kegerator in the Executive Mansion to attract Stone Brewing to Virginia, an economic development trick that ended up being a success. Bart Watson at the Brewers Association says in the time McAuliffe has been governor, Virginia has moved its license per capita ranking from 30th to 17th.

“And it’s worth underlining how unusual that is. We don’t see states change their ranking very often. So for Virginia to make such a huge move suggests that there’s really been something different in the regulatory, policy and economic environment.”

Some of the breweries that McAuliffe has attracted from other states to Virginia include Green Flash, Ballast Point and Deschutes.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
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