As craft and fruit beers grew very popular in the last few years, many breweries have opened their doors and sold their products directly to the public. Amid this fast-growing trend, only a handful of these small businesses have shown a clear commitment to maintaining the quality of their beer.
Opened in 2011, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery traces its origins to a sheep farm in Australia and a time soon after opening when local farmers gave the brewers some Hawaiian ginger and local honey, which were added to their milk stout base recipe. The end product is the much talked-about Gingerbread Stout, which put Hardywood on the craft brewery map, garnered a perfect score from BeerAdvocate magazine and was named the world’s No. 1 Christmas and holiday beer by The Beer Connoisseur magazine.
Hardywood has three physical locations, all of which are in Virginia: Richmond — its main headquarters, West Creek — a 60-barrel brewery and large taproom that accommodates up to 650 people, and Charlottesville — a pilot brewery venue with a small taproom that serves experimental beers.
“Last year, we brewed 15,000 barrels and are aiming for 25,000 in the next 12 months, with the new West Creek location now among the biggest brewing facilities in Virginia,” Vice President for Sales and Marketing Richard Miller said.
Hardywood has reached out to Japanese distributors with the help from the U.S. Brewers Association, an organization that helps to promote independent American breweries. It also sent beers to exhibitions and competitions around the world through the Export Development Program.
Through that program, Hardywood has sent some of their beers to the American Craft Beer Experience in Japan over the past two years. Given the excellent reviews Hardywood received during the events, it won’t be long before discriminating Japanese beer aficionados get a regular supply of its magical brews.