Virginia breweries growing rapidly - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Virginia breweries growing rapidly

SALEM -

It's no mystery that Virginia enjoys its wine country status.

But soon craft beer could join the conversation.

"I've been thinking about it for a few years and the opportunity just arrived," said Mike "Keno" Snyder, co-owner of Parkway Brewery.

Snyder helped open the Salem brewery in January.

His dream became more realistic after a new brewery law took effect last July.

The law loosened restrictions on breweries allowing them to serve beer on-site without having a restaurant or brew-pub attached.

"It lets small breweries like us get a foothold by having that revenue at the beginning," he said.

It's motivating other breweries to open their doors for the first time as well.

In July 2012 when the brewery law took effect, there were 42 breweries in Virginia.

Today there are 52 breweries, a 24 percent growth in less than nine months.

More established breweries like Roanoke Railhouse are also seizing the opportunity.

Owner and founder Steve Davidson began serving beer at the brewery last fall and has seen a good response beyond just the Roanoke Valley.

"There are wine trails throughout Virginia. Now there are beer trails," he said.

As for the Parkway Brewery, Keno believes this is the ground level of Virginia's craft beer future.

"If anything a lot more breweries are going to open up which you already see right now."

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