Roanoke, Virginia's Evolving Economy Moves Beer-ward
Roanoke, Virginia was once the site of a large rail freight hub, but as that industry moved, the city had to transition. The city made big investments in its water utilities to try to attract the food industry. "With the merger of the city and county utilities, and later with the two systems in Botetourt and Franklin counties, the new authority doubled Roanoke's capacity to supply water and to treat wastewater," J. Brian Charles reports for Governing.
Treating waste water is key to the production of beer, and "at least 15 breweries have opened in and around Roanoke in the past six years," Charles writes. But unlike Missoula, Montana and other brewing hot spots, Roanoke breweries aren't just home-grown operations. "Roanoke has also landed full-scale production facilities from beer companies with breweries in other cities. San Diego-based Ballast Point, for example, opened a new brewery just outside Roanoke last summer with 100 employees and the current capacity to produce 200,000 barrels of beer a year -- a number that's expected to grow," Charles reports.