This story involves 2 things I like quite a lot. Virginia and beer. It also involves 2 things I don’t care for, crony capitalism and the New Yorker in the Governor’s Mansion, Terry McAuliffe.
If you are looking for a place to drink great craft beer in Virginia, I suggest you bypass Richmond anyway and head for Charlottesville which is chock full of great breweries. I recommend Starr Hill.
Make no mistake: The announcement that Stone chose Richmond as the site for its first brewery east of the Mississippi is great news. The launch will create almost 300 jobs, generate $74 million worth of investment, and help revitalize a part of the city that has struggled to go from shabby to chic. Cheers and toasts all ‘round.
But at the risk of behaving like the skunk at a beer-garden party, we shouldn’t let the moment pass without noting that the incentives the brewers will get are substantial. Richmond is issuing $23 million in bonds to build the brewery and an additional $8 million to build the restaurant. Stone also will get a $1.5 million economic development grant and a $500,000 sustainability grant.