Craft brewery coming to JCC Marina

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The entrance to the JCC Marina. (Photo courtesy of James City County)
The entrance to the JCC Marina. (Photo courtesy of James City County)

A destination craft brewery is coming to the James City County Marina.

Dave Baum, a James City County resident and founder of Billsburg Brewery, signed a lease Tuesday morning to establish the brewery at the marina.

“It’s been the idea and the dream for years, and it’s all coming together,” Baum said.

The IT professional said he was inspired to start the business after experimenting with homebrewing.

“It’s the first hobby that’s ever made us rethink our career paths,” Baum said of the Billsburg team.

The brewery will take over the former site of Eco Discovery Park, a nonprofit that offered kayak and bicycle rentals at the marina until May 2015 when its lease expired.

In the fall the JCC Board of Supervisors authorized the JCC Economic Development Authority to sublease 10 of the site’s 38 acres to a prospective tenant.

The EDA accepted proposals from prospective tenants from December 2015 to Jan. 8. Baum’s application was one of three official applications the EDA received and was ultimately selected about a month later, said Russell Seymour, the county’s director of economic development.

“This is an important location for the county. This is a very important project for the county and the EDA,” Seymour said. “We’ve been very fortunate in James City County to have [Billsburg Brewery] come in.”

Although it will be James City County’s only craft brewery, Billsburg is joining a growing market in the Historic Triangle that features Alewerks, Virginia Beer Company and Brass Cannon Brewing, which recently moved from Toano to York County.

Billsburg’s competitive advantage, Baum said, is its location on the water.

“I think that water is the great equalizer for everybody and it’s an area in this town that we’ve been working with the county to grow and expand,” Baum said.

From here, Baum and investor Tim Yates will determine whether they will utilize the building already at the site or start from scratch. More information about Billsburg, including the timeline for redeveloping the land, will be announced in the coming weeks, Seymour said.

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