Built in the Blue Ridge: Chaos Mountain Brewing

By Patrick McKee - Anchor
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Built in the Blue Ridge

FRANKLIN CO. (WSLS 10) - Nestled in the hills of Franklin County is its largest brewery.

Joe and Wendy Hallock started Chaos Mountain Brewing after first making beer in their home two decades ago.  "I started home brewing in 1996. I just fell in love with it. I had the opportunity three years ago to start this. It seemed like a very good idea at the time," said owner Joe Hallock.

It was a good idea, that saw real growth when state law changed, allowing breweries to open tasting rooms.

"When they passed SB604 and they allowed people to actually sell beer in their tasting rooms, that's when it made the big difference. If you can only sell it through distribution, it doesn't have as high of a profit margin," Hallock said.

Sales are driven through a growing palate of products, with Chaos Mountain now producing six year-round beers, four seasonal and several limited release products.

They create the different brews after a meeting of the minds.

"It's basically a collaboration of all the different folks who work here, our brewer and assistant brewer, and we basically come up with ideas and discuss them and try to plan out the year with what we would like to make and add to that as time goes on," said Hallock

In the company's short existence, it is already being noticed in the industry, winning several top honors at the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival.

With success, comes the ability to give back to the community. They are currently working with several other brewers on a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and one of the owners built a quilt for auction to benefit Healing Strides of Virginia.

"I did an all Virginia brewery t-shirt quilt.  The idea came to me for something fun and different to do, said Wendy Hallock.  "I got 48 t-shirts from around the state of Virginia and just started to cut the squares as i got them."

Chaos Mountain just expanded into two new markets in the eastern part of Virginia, which now makes its products available to all parts of the Commonwealth.

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