Starr Hill goes national with Anheuser-Busch

Drink up now, Charlottesville, so you can say you drank it when. Crozet-based Starr Hill Brewery announced today that the company has reached a distribution deal with megabrewer Anheuser-Busch to distribute Starr Hill's microbrewed suds across the mid-Atlantic region starting in 2011, with plans to go national as early as 2013.

"We want to follow the model of breweries like Sierra Nevada, Widmer, and Red Hook to become the next great national beer," says Starr Hill founder and president Mark Thompson. "Anheuser-Busch is the best distribution network anywhere, so the sky's the limit."

The deal means a definite increase in volume for the eight-year old brewery which got its start at the defunct Starr Hill Music Hall and counts music mogul Coran Capshaw among its backers. Yet, Thompson says the brewery has no plans to move or expand its operation beyond the old ConAgra frozen foods building on Three Notch'd Road in Crozet.

"They don't build buildings like this anymore," says Thompson. "We've got ample room to bring in more fermenters as we need them."

Currently, Starr Hill produces 5,000 barrels (or 155,000 gallons) of beer annually, and Thompson says he hopes to ramp up production. "We hope to grow to 7,500-10,000 barrels next year and then expand by 30-40 percent every year after that," he says. "We founded this company to give people the gift of great beer, and we hope to give that gift to as many people as possible."



Very Cool.
It's too bad the taste of the beer doesn't distinguish itself* from the larger micro brew pack, but hey, nice work.

*The Dark Star Stout is excellent, I grant you.

Albemarle County is a proven business killer. High taxes, extra squeaky NIMBY's, and lack of affordable housing.

Even a Coran Capshaw enterprise is not immune to the anti-business climate here.

Nice building for brewing or not, this is the beginning of the end of Starr Hill brewery in Albemarle. The Anheuser corporate will pull the plug on Crozet the instant it is not cost effective.