Wednesday, February 21, 2024

City approves new downtown brewery

The site of the proposed Amber Ox Kitchen and Brewery. (Courtesy Google Maps.)

Greater Williamsburg residents can look forward to a new brewery coming to downtown.

On Thursday, Williamsburg’s City Council unanimously approved a request from Amber Ox Kitchen and Brewery to open a micro-brewery and restaurant on Prince George Street.

“I think this is great,” said Vice-Mayor Scott Foster. “I haven’t been as excited about a new business coming to town in a long time.”

The other council members echoed Foster’s enthusiasm.

“Not only is it an offer for our residents but for visitors to our market,” said Councilman Doug Pons. “It’s exactly what we need more of.”

Williamsburg resident Chris Cook and his business partner Andrew Voss plan to operate a 5,360 square foot restaurant, including a 712-square-foot microbrewery called Amber Ox Kitchen and Brewery.  Voss said during the meeting the brewing area of the building will be visible to bar guests and sidewalk pedestrians alike.

According to promotional material included with the application, the brewery’s menu will feature seasonal dishes and regionally-sourced ingredients.

“The Amber Ox is a welcoming culinary-focused brewery, always looking for innovative ways to create dishes that pair perfectly with our beer,” stated the application document. “By tapping into the rich culinary and brewing history of Virginia, we believe we have created something unique to Williamsburg.”

Cook and Voss submitted two proposals for council members to review — one request to amend the text to the B-1 Downtown Zoning District to allow micro-breweries, distilleries, cideries and wineries, and another request for a special-use permit to operate the business in the historic downtown area.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the project to City Council in May. At the time Voss, said Amber Ox plans to brew approximately 700 barrels of beer annually. The brewery will offer four to six varieties of their own beer at a time, in addition to beers from other regional breweries.

“We’re not going to be doing any distributing,” Voss said after the Planning Commission meeting. “It’s really going to be all about the quality of the product we offer, served exclusively on property.  In conjunction and equally as important to the brewing experience is going to be the quality of the food we’re offering as well.”

Amber Ox will join Virginia Beer Company, Alewerks and Brass Cannon in the Greater Williamsburg brewery scene. Billsburg Brewery will be joining the James City County Marina in 2017 as well.

“We’re extremely excited to bring this product to the city,” Voss said.

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