The Virginia Craft Newsmaster

Quarter 1 - 2021
Dear VCBG Members,

Well, it appears that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The pandemic is waning, vaccinations are increasing, and consumers are increasingly anxious to get back to normal. But how will we redefine normal? One way is to announce this year's Virginia Craft Beer Cup competition, upcoming member meetings, and our LIVE 2021 Virginia Craft Beer Cup Gala, Trade Show & 10th Anniversary Celebration.

We are also wrapping up this year's 2021 Virginia General Assembly session today with the veto session. We will publish the VCBG 2021 Last Call Report detailing all the bills that we monitored or managed at the April 12 VCBG Government Affairs Committee meeting. The published version of the report will be on the VCBG website later that day. Overall, there were 1,033 bills introduced in the 2021 special session - of those, the VCBG monitored or managed 23 bills. Most notable this session were bills dealing with "designated outdoor refreshment area" licenses, ABC license reforms, and added regulatory responsibilities including "criminal blight" enforcement, tourism, food grade CBD, VDACS brewery inspection/license reforms, and Rebuild Virginia grant reforms.

We have already started regulatory work with the Virginia ABC to harmonize the ABC administrative code with the new ABC licenses and fees. The first meeting took place last week, and we are working to reform delivery permit data requirements, establish electronic reporting and tax/license/fee payments, create an ABC-reviewed Temporary Distribution Agreement with beer franchise act waiver, reform labeling regulations, and complete CBD oil beer additive regulations. These priorities will take 12-18 months to complete.

Speaking of priorities, I want to thank the Co-Chairs and members that have helped develop the 2021-2022 workplans for the committees and VCBG. This input is essential to helping the Leadership Council and staff effectively prioritize. A brief listing of these priorities is now on our website. Your perseverance and commitment to outstanding independent craft beer has made Virginia the #1 state in the Southeast, measured by breweries per capita (per 100,000 21+ year-olds).

In closing, we have a great deal to celebrate this year. We have proven to the public that we can safety operate breweries and tasting rooms. The economy is opening soon and consumers will return. They may have different expectations of a tasting room experience, but you have adapted and will continue to do so. The last 10 years have presented many challenges, but I am proud to work for such an amazing organization and remarkable group of people. I cannot wait to celebrate with you at this year's 2021 Virginia Craft Beer Cup Gala, Trade Show & 10th Anniversary Celebration.

Brett A. Vassey
VCBG President & CEO
Get Involved - Join a Committee!

The VCBG is only as strong as its members, and our committee work is critical in driving Virginia independent craft beer forward. Now is the perfect time to get involved! Contact Kaitlyn Crow, VCBG Communications & Marketing Manger, to be added to one of the committees below:
Government Affairs Committee
Meeting: April 12, 1:30pm-2:30pm
Lead by Sten Sellier (Beltway Brewing Company) and Hunter Smith (Champion Brewing), the Government Affairs Committee members advise the Leadership Council and advocate for independent craft brewery legislation and regulations involving the Virginia ABC, Virginia Department of Taxation, and VDACS specific to breweries and beer distribution.

Farm Brewery Committee
Meeting: April 12, 3:00pm-4:30pm
Lead by Lisa Pumphrey (Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery) and David St. Clair (Swover Creek Farms & Brewery), the Farm Brewery Committee aims to protect the rural character of Virginia by promoting agricultural resources for the brewery supply-chain, expanding plow to pint independent craft beer, providing consumer education, and protecting rural structures from over-development.

Quality & Operations Committee
Lead by Kate Lee (Hardywood Park Craft Brewery) and Shawn Phillips (Spencer Devon Brewing Co.), the newly expanded Quality & Operations Committee focuses on sharing best practices, brewery safety, quality assurance, yeast management, lab services & equipment vendors, employee development & training, and finance.

Tourism & Marketing Committee
Lead by Neil Burton (Strangeways Brewing) and Chris Burns (Old Ox Brewery), the Tourism & Marketing Committee dedicates themselves to the expansion and differentiation of independent craft beer in the marketplace. The work of the committee focuses on introducing craft beer to non-craft drinkers through the VCBG beer festivals, virtual events, awards, tourism authorities, competitions, and media outreach programs.
Government Affairs News
Legislative & ABC Brewery Issues

2021 General Assembly Session
The 2021 Virginia General Assembly Session started on January 13. This year's Session was limited to its Constitutional 30 days, so Governor Northam called a Special Session, to begin immediately after the 30th day. The Reconvened Session (Veto Session) for the 2021 Special Session began today, April 7.

During this year's legislative session, members met each Friday morning to discuss relevant bills, and Bulletin & Alerts were distributed to members urging them to act on important legislative issues. Members received the 2021 Legislative Crossover Report on February 9.

The 2021 VCBG Last Call Report, analyzing all bills and this year's Session, will be distributed at the VCBG Government Affairs Committee meeting on April 12 and posted to the VCBG website.

Continued COVID-19 Response
Download the most up-to-date version of the VA Craft Brewery Pledge, which covers required public notice mandates as outlined in the Virginia COVID-19 Final Permanent Standard (16 VAC25-220).

Check out the VCBG COVID-19 Resource Center for updates on vaccinations, CDC recommendations, and Governor Northam's Executive Orders.
Marketing & Tourism News
Events and Activities

This year, the VCBG is only planning two live events - the Virginia Craft Beer Cup judging and the combined Virginia Craft Beer Cup Gala, Trade Show & 10th Anniversary celebration.

2021 Virginia Craft Beer Cup
Registrations are open for the Virginia Craft Beer Cup Competition! Our goal is to have 100 breweries compete this year, which is the VCBG's 10th Anniversary. Cup winners will be announced on Monday, August 16, in time for all award-winning beers to be served during the fall months and showcased at upcoming Guild events. Registration is open until midnight on May 23. 

Here's what you need to know:

1. **NEW** Cup Competition Software
We're using software to register your beer entries. You can view registration guidelines, see beer judging dates, view delivery directions, review beer style descriptions, register your brewery and each beer entry, print labels, and pay your registration fees all in one place. View a tutorial explaining how to use the software here.
2. Important Dates:
  • May 23 – Cup competition registration closes at midnight - NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • June 3 – Cup competition beers must be received at Old Ox Brewery no later than 5PM on Thursday, June 3 - LATE ENTRIES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Beers can be hand-delivered to Old Ox Brewery (44652 Guilford Dr. #114, Ashburn, VA 20147) between 9AM-5PM on June 2 & 3. If shipping, please make sure that you receive a guaranteed delivery date of June 2.
  • June 4, 5 & 12 – Cup competition judging will take place at Old Ox Brewery.
  • July 26 – Virginia Craft Beer Conference will be held virtually from 10AM-4PM.
  • August 16 – Virginia Craft Beer Cup Gala, Trade Show & 10th Anniversary Celebration will take place from 5PM-9PM at Hardywood - West Creek.

Virginia Craft Beer Cup Gala, Trade Show & 10th Anniversary Celebration
The Virginia Craft Beer Cup Gala, Trade Show & 10th Anniversary Celebration will take place on August 16 from 5PM-9PM at Hardywood - West Creek. This year's event will be held outdoors to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions. Breweries submitting 3 beers to the Cup Competition will receive 2 complimentary tickets to attend - all additional tickets can be purchased here.

Thanks to all VCBG Members that contribute to the expansion of independent craft beer. A special thanks to VCBG Associate Members that generously provide valuable sponsorships that make these events possible. Lastly, an extra special thanks to this year's Gala Platinum Sponsor, WestRock. They will be facilitating the WestRock Packaging Innovation Challenge again this year - more details to come.
Quality & Operations News
Improving Craft Beer Quality, Training, and Best Practice Sharing
2021 Virginia Craft Beer Conference
July 26, 2021 | 10am - 4pm

Mark your calendar for the virtual 2021 Virginia Craft Beer Conference! Prepare to spend the day learning best practices from expert speakers on topics ranging from yeast management to talent development to diversity and inclusion management.

The Quality & Operations Committee is developing this year's program, so join the Quality & Operations Committee to participate!
Virginia Craft Brewers Guild Quality & Safety Certification

The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild Quality and Safety Certification (VCBGQSC) addresses the need for quality and safety training in the craft brewing industry. The online and multi-media training and assessment focuses on requirements needed to ensure a safe working environment, and an understanding of the required quality and tasks needed in a brewery to meet Good Manufacturing Practices for Craft Brewers (GMPCBs). Contact MSI Workforce Solutions Coordinator Jody Steele if you’re interested in incorporating the VCBG Quality & Safety Certificate into your employee training.
Farm Brewery News
Plow to Pint Issues

The next meeting of the Farm Brewery Committee is April 12, 2021. Please email Kaitlyn Crow, VCBG Communications & Marketing Manager, to join the Committee.

This year, the Committee is focusing on increasing agricultural product sourcing for members, contract growing arrangements, the identification and branding of beers made with all-Virginia ingredients, and the evaluation of distributing farm beer through the VA Winery Distribution Company. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Brad Copenhaver will be joining the committee at its upcoming meeting to begin the benefit-cost analysis.

The Committee is also responsible for the annual Blue Ribbon Craft Beer Fest at the State Fair of Virginia. Unfortunately, it is still unclear if the State Fair will be held in 2021.
Member Benefits Feature
A Next Generation 401k: VCBG Retirement Solution

On May 1, 2021, the Virginia minimum wage increases from $7.25/hr. to $9.50/hr. One way to continue to stay competitive through minimum wage increases is to offer your employees benefits, such as a 401(k) retirement plan.

The Virginia General Assembly has also passed a statute this year requiring that all employers with 25 or more employees working 30 or more hours per week provide a qualified retirement program to their employees, or you and your employees will be required to participate in a state program - VirginiaSaves. The VCBG Retirement Solution will ensure that your company is in compliance with this statute.

We know that sponsoring and maintaining a retirement plan can be challenging. The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild Retirement Solution, powered by TAG Resources, the largest outsource provider of 401(k) services in the United States, allows you to offer a retirement plan to your employees while reducing administrative burden, mitigating and transferring fiduciary risks, and potentially saving money.
VCBG Associate Spotlights
Find these and more in our Craft Beer Services Directory!
VCBG Associate Member, Arryved, is a point of service built for craft breweries. They helped their customers through the last year of the pandemic and are looking forward to the summer to ensure the brewing community has what you need. Their mobile, flexible POS, online ordering platform, rich brewery-centric data, and world-class customer support is designed to keep your business thriving, on-premise and online.

"Arryved all the way: it’s a system built by people who worked in the industry and they regularly check in with their clients for not only support, but ways they can potentially grow or help you pivot. I’ve worked with all the major systems out there and I would never pick another service." - Katie Nierling, Ska Street Brewstillery
Arryved will exhibit at this year's Gala!
ABS Commercial, a Raleigh, NC-based seller of brew houses and cellar tanks, is giving back to the craft beer community! ABS will be selecting one lucky brewery to receive a FREE Keg Viking Keg Washer. ABS has given away two keg washers to date and the third keg washer winner will be announced on June 4th. Visit to enter!

Hear from a past Keg Viking winner: “We definitely appreciate what you’re doing for us, we couldn’t believe we won, it took a few hours to sink in. It will change my workload unbelievably.” - AJ Brechbeil, Rough Edges Brewing Company
The Virginia Lottery is offering a six-month free trial of Keno! Turn your business into a Keno Entertainment Destination

What can Keno do for your business?
- Keno is a social game with drawings every four minutes* that can increase customer traffic and loyalty by drawing groups and individuals. 
- Keno fans are loyal and seek out locations where they can play.
- Establishments earn a 5% commission on every Keno sale and a 1% commission on cashing winning tickets.
- Establishments in other states reported a 15% to 18% increase in food and beverage sales.** That means a potential to boost your bottom line. 

Getting Keno is easy. The Lottery will give you everything at no cost to you. Visit the Lottery’s Keno Retailer page for more information:

*Except during system processing time.
**As reported from GA, KY, NJ and NC lotteries.