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Charlottesville Breweries Capitalize on Craft Beer Boom

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In 2017, Virginia produced 358,903 barrels of craft beer In 2017, Virginia produced 358,903 barrels of craft beer
Brassie Saison on the Downtown Mall offers a variety of beer Brassie Saison on the Downtown Mall offers a variety of beer
The economic impact of craft beer was about $1.4 million in 2016 The economic impact of craft beer was about $1.4 million in 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Virginia's booze business is attracting more tourists to the commonwealth.

The state's tourism corporation says the number of people traveling to Virginia for craft brews and wines has doubled in the last few years.

Brewers in the Charlottesville area say they're taking notice, saying it's common to see people from out of town at their establishments.

“We see that spread of retirees during the week, and young people who are doing beer tours who are driving around central Virginia to taste beer,” said Will Curley, the general manager at Brasserie Saison.

The Virginia Tourism Corporation says people in-state alone travel 50 miles or more just for a beer.

“It's a great weekend getaway, and each brewery and each winery has their own personality,” said Dave Warwick, the brewmaster at Three Nothch’d Brewing Company. “They have their own selection of different beers and different ales, lagers, styles from all over the world.”

Just in 2016, the economic impact of craft beer was estimated at $1.4 million.

“Even though I'm around beer all day, I still love spending a weekend with my wife and going to Richmond or going to Northern Virginia, or going to Roanoke and checking out all of the breweries that they have there and wineries and cideries and distilleries,” Warwick said.

Brewers say part of the draw to craft beer is the unique full flavor and local ingredients.

“It's unique that we've been able to create such a beer culture around such fine food, and that's one of the things that Brasserie does so well,” Curley said. “We have amazing house-made beers to go along with exceptional French-Belgium food done by chefs who care using local ingredients.”

To tap into this craft beer boom, breweries in downtown Charlottesville have created the Charlottesville Ale Trail to encourage people to walk to each one and check out the local selection.