What’s your current position at your brewery?
I’m prime minister of our new nation of beer, Brew Republic Bierwerks [in Woodbridge, Va.], which means I’m essentially president/CEO.
How did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
When my father-in-law Pat Noone passed away a few years ago, we were at Yuengling meeting with Dick and Dave and others (Pat was #3 at the company). We found out that just after the Civil War, there was a Yuengling brewery in Richmond called the James River Steam Brewery. I had lived in Richmond when I was a member of the Virginia General Assembly, and the fact that Yuengling had pondered reviving the James River brand and opening a location there intrigued us. I’m a serial entrepreneur and my wife’s brother is a restaurateur, so we asked Dick for permission to explore the possibility of us taking on this project. Ultimately, the deal with Yuengling never came to fruition, but I took all the knowledge I gained and teamed up with some of our local friends who had been homebrewing for a while—and Brew Republic was born.
What’s new at Brew Republic?
We just opened last September, so most things are new. We have six to 10 beers on tap, and we have an aggressive event offering in our taproom (where we also serve food). We’re investing heavily in growing our distribution footprint, and most recently we introduced our Guerrilla pilot/experimental beer series with a new, very limited release every Monday.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
That we’re involved in a lifestyle industry; that we get to create a product that enhances people’s lives whether they are having a drink with friends, out doing something somewhere (like spending the day on the water), or just kicking back and enjoying a delicious beer. We sell not just great beer, but an experience: the idea that when you’re drinking one of our beers, you’re in the Republic—where beer can and should be better. It’s a place you can escape to and a place you long to return to.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
One of our favorite pairings is our beer and donut flight parties. We’ve forged a strong partnership with Duck Donuts a few doors down from us.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
My three kids, and getting elected to the legislature three times as well as winning a statewide convention.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Sail the Caribbean, fly planes, and chill out on the lake with family and friends.