’Every little village has their little pub’: Craft brewery owners celebrate Small Brewers Sunday

Participants included Mountain Valley Brewing, Henry County’s only brewery

AXTON, Va. – Virginia has nearly 200 craft breweries, according to the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, and Sunday became a day to celebrate them.

The inaugural Small Brewers Sunday was a nationwide event meant to follow up Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. The participating breweries included Mountain Valley Brewing in Axton.

“We are the first, the oldest, and the only brewery in Henry County,” said Mountain Valley Brewing owner Herb Atwell.

“We are here, we are part of the community, and we are trying to stay vital in the community,” added co-owner Peggy Donivan, who is also Atwell’s wife.

Atwell and Donivan started Mountain Valley Brewing in 2017 after years of growing their own hops. They say Small Brewing Sunday gave them the perfect opportunity to showcase their upstart business.

“Being small reminds me of the pubs in England and Scotland," Atwell said. "Every little village has their little pub; people will come in and strike up a conversation.”

Mountain Valley Brewing expanded this year, and the owners have not ruled out further expansion in the future. Atwell and Donivan are hopeful Small Brewing Sunday will encourage more people to visit tiny taprooms like theirs year-round.

“We try to learn everybody’s name. What they like, what they don’t like," Donivan said. "It makes everybody feel welcome and at home.”

Mountain Valley Brewing also donated part of their income from Small Brewing Sunday to a Henry County youth football team traveling for a competition.

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