“The Disney World of Botetourt County.”
That’s the way County Administrator Gary Larrowe has been describing the new Ballast Point Brewery, and he evoked the similarities again Monday when the California-based brewery opened its Tasting Room and Kitchen for a crowd of more than 200 people who hoped to have lunch there on the restaurant’s first official day.
The brewing part— that’s still to come as work crews continue to piece together what will be Ballast Points’ first East Coast brewing operation. It’s expected to be bottling beer by late summer or early fall.
The restaurant— the seventh one the brewery is opening— may be known at first for the 96 brew taps at the bar and the California-meets-Botetourt menu. But word will spread about the stunning views of Botetourt Center at Greenfield where it is located and the Allegheny Mountains to the north and west from the first-floor outside and the second-floor enclosed seating areas.
As for the reference to Disney World, Larrowe told the crowd of Botetourt Chamber of Commerce members, county Fire & EMS crews, county officials, business people and residents, and a gaggle of Roanoke-area media that Ballast Point will become an attraction not only for local people and other Virginians, but it “will bring people from all over the world.”
Larrowe complemented the Ballast Point officials whom he said “continuously under promised and over delivered.”
The Tasting Room & Kitchen will accommodate around 200 for lunch and dinner, seven days a week in both fast casual and table service formats, the company’s Retail Marketing Coordinator Maddie Tomey said.
The restaurant also has a private banquet room that will seat 100.
Besides the 96 beer taps and eight water taps at the bar, there also is a 14-tap growler filling station.
“The menu has an East-meets-West flavor with staples from Ballast Point’s California kitchens plus southern standards,” said General Manager Mike Alvarado.
Larrowe introduced Alvarado during the ribbon cutting ceremony. “I’m speechless,” he told the crowd “I’m so happy and excited to get the ball rolling…. It’s a great opportunity for all of us.”
The restaurant interior has what’s described as a clean contemporary look and includes the large bar area and restaurant seating. There’s also a retail store, merchandise shop and an outdoor fire pit patio overlooking Greenfield Lake. The restaurant includes accent pieces from Roanoke’s Black Dog Salvage.
“This is an attractive asset for people who live here and a major draw for tourists,” said Botetourt County Board of Supervisors Chair Jack Leffel in a prepared statement.
Started in 1996 by a small group of home brewers in San Diego, Ballast Point Brewing Co. explores new tastes and techniques to create the perfect balance of taste and aroma, according to its promotional material. From developing a proprietary yeast for the amber ale to creating a breakthrough gold medal-winning Sculpin IPA, Ballast Point is dedicated to the craft of brewing beers for all to enjoy, it said.
Ballast Point’s East Coast brewing operation was announced in April 2016. Completion is expected later in 2017 and will include 100- and 300-barrel systems that will enable the company to produce more than 50 styles of beer.
The company now employs 47 in the Tasting Room & Kitchen and will employ about 145 in manufacturing and associated functions.
Ballast Point is investing $48.7 million at the brewing and restaurant operation. The company bought the 259,040-square-foot Lawrence Companies building (the former JTEKT building) and has been remodeling, adding on and building the brewing operation since last year.
— Ed McCoy