Booming craft breweries benefiting Roanoke Valley

Big Lick just named one of country's fastest-growing breweries

ROANOKE, Va. – The craft beer industry is booming in the Roanoke Valley.

Several breweries have moved into the area in the past couple of years and there are plans for even more.

When Big Lick Brewing Company expanded last fall, so did its impact in the region.

"We basically went from 100 barrels of beer for the last two and a half years to now we'll probably do 1,000 barrels this year," president and head brewer Bryan Summerson said.

Big Lick was just named one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in the country.

The industry has hopped into the Roanoke Valley and taken off in recent years.

"We've been fortunate not only to attract some good national craft brewers, but to grow homegrown some of the local breweries into larger and larger facilities," Roanoke’s acting economic development director Rob Ledger said.

In just the past couple of years, Starr Hill and Deschutes have moved into downtown Roanoke, new breweries have opened in Salem, Ballast Point has moved to Botetourt and there are plans for more.

Ledger said that benefits the region as a whole, as beer lovers seek out not just more breweries, but other businesses in our area as well.

"There are loyal followers and, when they come, they may stay an extra day to see some of the other craft brewers who are in the region," Ledger said.

Summerson said he sees the Blue Ridge buzz growing too.

"It just makes us a destination. We get a whole lot of tourists and they're usually the ones that are here early and waiting at the door," Summerson said.