WILLIAMSBURG — The Virginia Beer Company (VBC) is helping to celebrate the launch of Busch Gardens’ newly opened DarKoaster with a limited edition Black Lager beer collaboration.
“This is a homegrown relationship,” says VBC co-founder Robby Willey. “It was a very natural collaboration. A very neighborly thing.”
As the park’s closest microbrewery geographically, Willey says those relationships started by just getting to know their industry partners as they popped in for a beverage on industry night. “We then began asking questions such as, ‘what can we do to be better partners? What kind of beers and volume are you looking for? How can we help you succeed and allow you to support local?'”
Willey credits Michael Rhodes, VBC’s Director of Sales for ”floating the idea” of a co-branded product, “it did require finding the right occasion and a brand new coaster was the perfect opportunity.”
“it was important from the inception of the project that I feel, organically, like a Busch Gardens product,” said Rhodes, “As the local craft beer supplier we wanted to make sure we were supporting them with the best product possible to represent what Williamsburg can do. I feel like we hit the mark with this project. The BG team has been amazing to work with and it has been a really fun ride, pun intended!”
The team at The Virginia Beer Company has collaborated with many local businesses and organizations through the years, and values being community-based and good partners.
“We recognize that The Virginia Beer Company is a staple to Williamsburg and the craft beer community, and after selling a selection of their beers for the last several years, we were excited to elevate our partnership with the creation of the DarKoaster Black Lager, said Kevin Lembke, Busch Gardens Williamsburg Park President. “Pairing the opening of DarKoaster with the launch of the lager was an unprecedented and thrilling time for both our team members and loyal park fans. We’re looking ahead to upcoming events and anniversaries where we can continue to strengthen The Virginia Beer Company’s presence in our parks.”
Available for a limited time and only in the park, the beverage is ‘true German style’ and smooth and dark in color to invoke its namesake. Taking months to plan and perfect, Willey said, “We wanted to come up with a beer that represented the ride. Something different, not just repackaging a beer that is always available.
“Throughout this entire process, the Busch Gardens team continually reiterated how important it was for them to work locally. They felt it really added authenticity to the project,” Rhodes continues, “This was a really fun project to take on and we hope this was just the first of many to come.”