As for Bottlecraft, selecting Virginia Beach for an additional location was more of a personal choice, and, as another military-heavy, tourist-driven beach town, a natural fit. Founder Brian Jensen teamed up with his college buddy Chase Pittman, along with his business partner Alex Wolcott, to open the VB outpost.
“Honestly, my friendships with Chase and Alex were the biggest factor that led to opening there," said Jensen. "I knew I wanted to be out East, and they convinced me that Virginia, and VB in particular, would be a great spot. For me, it's all about relationships.”
Mike Hinkley, CEO of Green Flash cites the similarity of San Diego and Virginia Beach, in particular, to his decision. “Virginia Beach was perfect for us because of the community. It felt a lot like our home in San Diego. A strong community feel, big beach culture, the hustle and bustle of tourism, and the sound of navy fighter jets soaring above," said Hinkley. "We’ve also created a great meeting place to connect with our East Coast customers face-to-face.”
Financial incentives, infrastructure, and cheaper real estate aside, Virginia is a beacon of untapped potential that is attractive to larger-scale independent breweries looking to expand their reach across the country.
Distribution potential is also a factor here -- San Diego isn’t exactly the most central location for nationwide distribution. Being smack dab in the middle of I-95, which runs north to south of much of the East Coast, means that any brewery located in Virginia -- San Diego transplant or not -- can get fresher beer into the hands of more people, faster, with fewer logistical headaches. It also opens the door for future overseas distribution in the freshly tapped European market. (Stone Berlin, anyone?)