Our View: There’s a lot brewing in the Port City

Our View: There’s a lot brewing in the Port City

(Photo/Chris Teale)

The already healthy tourism industry in Alexandria got a boost last month when Port City Brewing Company won a bevy of awards at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

The suds supplier won four awards, including Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year, going from nascent startup to best in class in four and a half short years. That’s no small feat.

Starting any company from scratch is a difficult task. To be successful you need a good business plan, a strong leadership team and a first-rate product. Port City founder Bill Butcher has managed all three from his operation on Wheeler Avenue.

Butcher and his crew won not just the brewery-wide award, but a bronze medal for its Optimal Wit in the Belgian-Style Witbier group in addition to earning silver both for the Monumental IPA in the English-Style India Pale Ale category and Porter in the Robust Porter class.

We laud Butcher’s dedication to excellence — and thank him for providing one more reason for people from other locales to visit Alexandria. As craft breweries go the way of wineries in becoming sought-out destinations for aficionados, Port City has put itself — and by extension its namesake city — on the beer map.

It’s important from a tourism standpoint to have a variety of ways to draw visitors to your destination.

Alexandria’s living history museum that is Old Town remains the city’s main source of golden eggs. But the city has other attractions, including our blossoming restaurant scene and attractions like the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum, the George Washington Masonic Temple and Fort Ward Park. Port City Brewing Company’s appeal to millennials helps fill an important niche in the tourism industry.

Port City’s accomplishment also illuminates the fact that Alexandria is home to numerous award-winning small businesses:

In the restaurant category alone, Pork Barrel BBQ has won awards for their barbeque sauce, Cheesetique for their mac and cheese, Restaurant Eve has been a James Beard nominee and Todd Thrasher of PX has been lauded as one of the country’s best bartenders.

In the hospitality realm, Hotel Monaco has been named one of the most pet-friendly hotels in the country, while the Morrison House has been awarded for the quality of their service.

Other Alexandria small businesses to receive awards in recent years include Motley Fool, named the region’s best place to work two years in a row, and Greener Cleaner and Maid to Clean for cleaning excellence.

The awards Butcher’s team brought home from Denver help spotlight both their own achievements and, by extension, the city of Alexandria as a whole. As they proved, there’s a whole lot brewing in the Port City.