Hardywood heads farther west, into bustling Charlottesville area

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PHOTO: Hardywood

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia has emerged as a leader in the nationwide craft beverage boom, and on Tuesday, one of Richmond’s vanguard breweries announced their expansion into Charlottesville.

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery began its path west of the city last year, after breaking ground for a new facility in Goochland,

Now Hardywood plans to open a brewery and taproom in the Uncommon building at 1000 W. Main Street in Charlottesville. The location is a quarter-mile away from the area known as The Corner, frequented by University of Virginia students. It is slated to open in fall 2016.

That stretch along Main Street has recently gone through a transformation, the skyline changed by mixed-use development that includes multi-story buildings.

The facility will be in between UVA and the Downtown Mall and will feature a 3.5 barrel brewery and an intimate, 1,100 square foot taproom and outdoor beer garden.

Hardywood will invest $300,000 in the project, and will create four full time jobs and 12 part time jobs.

Hardywood president and co-founder Eric McKay said Hardywood has been well represented in central and western Virginia, by Virginia Eagle Distributing, but that their taproom “is the most impactful vehicle for sharing our story, and we hope to create similar enthusiasm for our beers at retail accounts throughout Charlottesville.”

The taproom will feature 12 Hardywood draft beers, with a focus on experimental batches brewed on site.

“We love Charlottesville and are so excited about this project,” McKay said. “The Uncommon building is perfectly suited as a creative hub for brewing uncommon beers, as a community gathering place and as a space for collaboration within the industry.”

Brewmaster and co-founder Patrick Murtaugh  said that “the brewhouse is 5 times the size of our current pilot system and will give us the opportunity to pursue more collaborative brewing efforts and to experiment with innovative recipes in a dedicated facility, while gathering meaningful feedback on these new concepts.”

Light fare, including fresh baked pretzels and locally sourced charcuterie are planned offerings, and menus for area restaurants will be available for guests to order into the taproom or make plans to experience the local restaurant scene.

Locally roasted, nitrogenated coffee and local kombucha will also be served on tap.

The taproom will close by 10 p.m., the owners said, out of respect for neighbors.

The Uncommon building is slated to open to residents in late summer 2016, and Hardywood plans to open its brewery and taproom by September.

Hardywood will keep its headquarters in Richmond.

The work on the Goochland site continues in May. Plans there call for a 60,000 square foot brewery, packaging and distribution hall, a taproom, an amphitheater, an extensive garden and equipment to increase production capacity.

The Goochland facility, located on 24 acres in the West Creek Business Park, will “complement” Hardywood’s current 12,000 square foot facility near the Diamond in Richmond.