Another year for craft beer in Roanoke area

Another year of beer: Craft breweries seemed to pop up everywhere in the Roanoke area and across the Commonwealth in 2017. Last year alone, this region saw the openings of Ballast Point Brewing Company in Botetourt County, the Star Hill Pilot Brewery in Roanoke, Deschutes tasting room in downtown Roanoke, Olde Salem Brewing in downtown Salem, and Big Lick Brewing Company’s beer garden opened up.  So much happened on the beer scene in 2017, and it looks to be the same for 2018 and 2019.


Three Notch’d is expected to open in Roanoke in 2019.

Three Notch’d Brewing Company

Downtown Roanoke will see a new brewery this year! In late November, Charlottesville based Three Notch’d Brewery announced they would bring a 3,500 square foot brewery and collab. house to Roanoke. They already have four other locations: Two in Charlottesville, one in Richmond, and one in Harrisonburg. According to a statement by the brewery, construction begins this fall and doors will be open late spring of 2019.


Ober Brewing expects to open in early 2018.

Ober Brewing Company

In Salem, a third brewery is set to open its doors in 2018.  According to its website, Ober Brewing plans to open in January of this year. On their website, they list five beers with fun names like “Appalachian Mama American Amber Ale” and “Hanging Rock Pilsner”.  Ober Brewing was given the greenlight by Salem city leaders in late July, when they voted to allow microbreweries in industrial areas. Ober Brewing has since converted an old warehouse into a brewery.

A Few Old Goats Brewing

A Few Old Goats Brewing announced last year they would be setting up shop in the West End Flats at the edge of the Old Southwest Neighborhood and the West End Neighborhood in 2018. In mid-December, the Roanoke Planning and Development board gave them the approval to move forward with their brewing plans. In October, I had a chance to meet with the friends who are starting up this brewery and take a look at their space. It was a lot of fun and the three friends who plan to open the brewery are hoping to have it open by March.

Check out this video I made showing the future location of AFOG.


Jobs, jobs, jobs headed to Roanoke

IMG_5171 2017 was the year of big jobs announcements in Roanoke. It seemed as if Governor Terry McAuliffe was in town every other day doing a big jobs announcement. More jobs in any community is a good thing! If you think you may be on the job hunt within the next few years in Roanoke, you may have more options than there are now.

Here are some of the big economic stories that happened in 2017:

  • Virginia Tech Carilion Breaks Ground on Biomedical Research Expansion
  • Humm Kombucha: Will Invest $10 Million and Create 50 Jobs
  • Appalachian Power: Will hire 102 people and expand offices downtown
  • Altec Industries: Announces $30 Million Expansion, 180 New Jobs
  • Powerschool: Will add 96 jobs and move into Franklin building

More recently Atlantic Credit and Finance announced a $4 million expansion, adding 115 jobs to downtown Roanoke.

Here’s to hoping 2018 will be another big year for jobs announcements!

Read more economic development news here.

Humm Kombucha coming to Roanoke!


There are a few things in life (besides working out) that make me feel like I have my life together and am living a healthy lifestyle. One is drinking fresh squeezed green juice and the other is drinking kombucha.

In case you are wondering what kombucha is if you haven’t jumped on the kombucha wagon yet, kombucha is a non-alcoholic fermented green or black tea that has several health benefits like aiding digestion and immune boosting, etc.

So I am a big fan of kombucha done right. So this afternoon, I was excited when I heard that a pretty big kombucha company “Humm Kombucha” based out of Bend, Oregon has chosen Roanoke to build their East Coast manufacturing facility. They will build their $10 million facility in the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology, according to a press release.

My hope is they also build a kombucha tap room, how cool would that be? I’m super excited that something as trendy as a kombucha brewer would choose Roanoke to locate here. I also love what the owners Michelle Mitchell and Jamie Danek said in a press release about why they chose Roanoke:

“Roanoke is filled with genuinely good people. They love Roanoke, have so much pride in where they live and many simply wouldn’t live anywhere else. Their outdoor amenities and culture are a huge part of their day to day. This environment and vibe is very similar to Bend. Aligning with a similar culture is a must to the ethos of our company. Combine that with Roanoke’s central location and the low cost of doing business there, and we’ve found the perfect second home for Humm.”

I love their description of the people of Roanoke having pride in where they live, because I know I have a ton of pride in living in this amazing city.

To celebrate the announcement today, I stopped by Target where Humm Kombucha is sold, so I could try it out. There were at least five flavors to choose from and I picked blueberry mint. It was a good choice because it was so good! Now I can’t wait to try more knowing I will be supporting a future Roanoke company.

With both Deschutes and Humm Kombucha coming here from Oregon because they love the vibe, it makes me think I would love the vibe in Bend, Oregon. Maybe I should visit soon!

New brewery hopes to move into Old Southwest Roanoke neighborhood


The West End Flats could be the new home of a new brewery.

If everything goes according to plan, the Old Southwest Neighborhood will be the home to Roanoke’s newest brewery.

The micro-brewery called “A Few Old Goats Brewing, LLC” have submitted their application to the City of Roanoke Planning Building and Development.

The application requests a “special exception” to locate the micro-brewery in the now vacant commercial space at the West End Flats.

A Few Old Goats Brewing says in the application they have already reached out to the people who live in the West End Flats and passed out fliers to share their plans.

“The brewery plans to host a variety of events such as painting, wood carving, yoga, pub runs, and other activities to organizations who will serve the residents of Old Southwest.” – AFOGB Zoning Application

As far as the space goes, the application states that the owners hope to fit 113 people in the brewery (66 inside and 47 outside in the green space).

They say not a lot needs to be done to accommodate the brewery, but they will have to make small improvements like making the bathrooms bigger, installing a brewing system, and bar area, etc.

plans for brewery

Plans for what the brewery will look like. Courtesy: City application.

The brewery plans to be open in the late afternoon and close by 9 p.m. on weeknights and 10 p.m. on the weekends.

Right now they don’t have much of a social media/web presence. The only thing I could dig up online is they are listed as a home brewer on a beer review site and they made small batches of beer for a grand opening for Southern Hills Home Brew back in 2015, according to this Reddit post.

UPDATE (as of 10/20): AFOGB have officially launched their social media presence.

Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

A Few Old Goates Brewing’s application will be either approved or denied by the Board of Zoning Appeals after a public hearing on November 8.

WDBJ7 posted a video of what AFOGB looks like right now, check it out:

New health food store set to open in Roanoke


When I moved here to Roanoke, I have to admit, I was surprised the area did not have a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. For those who had similar feelings when they first moved to Roanoke, I have good news! Asheville based grocery store Earth Fare, a store that touts itself as “the authentic specialty organic and natural foods grocery store” is set to open. It is located near Mellow Mushroom at 2203 Franklin Road SW.

Here’s an excerpt of what Earth Fare says it will provide:

Since 1975, Earth Fare has distinguished itself as a leader in the healthy foods industry by developing a unique Food Philosophy that informs every product offered in the store. This Food Philosophy ensures that all products sold are free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial fats and trans-fats, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, bleached or bromated flour, and are never administered antibiotics or growth hormones. In addition, Earth Fare recently announced that its more than 750 private brand food products are now sourced using only non-GMO ingredients, and new products are added to the shelves each day.

In addition to groceries, the store will also feature an organic cafe and juice bar. If you are wanting something quick to grab for lunch, the store will also have a salad bar, hot foods bar, pizza station, and sandwich counter.

The store will host a grand opening celebration November 8 just before 7 a.m.

If you want to go check it out, there are these perks involved:

  • Mystery gift card giveaway valued at up to $500 to the first 100 shoppers
  • Free samples
  • Product demonstrations
  • Live music

The festivities will continue through opening week with promotions, raffles, product samples and family friendly entertainment.

November 8 is a month away, so if you are too excited for the grand opening, in the meantime you can enter this contest for a $100 gift card.