Matt Goodwyn at Capital Ale House Photo by Adam Ewing
Matt Goodwyn loves drinking microbrews so much that he decided to publish his own quarterly magazine about Virginia's craft-beer industry.
Virginia Craft Brew debuted last fall with a press run of 5,000 copies. The time certainly seems right for it: Since 2012, the number of microbrewing operations here has jumped about 50 percent, according to the Virginia Department of Tourism, with more than 60 operations scattered across the commonwealth.
The magazine's content focuses on local breweries, hops growers, homebrew shops, craft beer stores, restaurants, music reviews, festivals and related news in Central Virginia, and it's distributed across the state.
Goodwyn started the magazine as a labor of love. "The idea wasn't to start a publishing company, but to support small businesses and be an advocate for the micro-brewing community."
Being a structural steel specialist at his family's lumber business, R.C. Goodwyn and Sons Inc. in Powhatan County, has given Goodwyn a perspective on what it takes for a small company to survive. "Local craft brewers in Virginia make very good beer," he says. "But the way they differentiate themselves is by providing great service."
Advertising rates are kept low to enable bootstrapping breweries to promote their products. Goodwyn says community philanthropy is important, too, with 5 percent of ad sales from each issue donated to local nonprofits.
An important early supporter was Matt Simmons, president of Capital Ale House, with restaurants in Richmond, Fredericksburg and Harrisonburg. Simmons bought a full-page ad for the inaugural issue.
"I was totally blown away because I had never even met Matt," Goodwyn says. For his part, Simmons says Virginia Craft Brew enables him to support Virginia's entrepreneurial-minded craft brewers while gaining familiarity with a wider array of potential beers for his six restaurants.
"As soon as we heard about Matt's publication, we knew we wanted to be involved. We're making a big push to get more local craft beers in our restaurants," Simmons says.
More frothy happenings are on tap for the summer issue, which will be out in time for the National Beer Expo, July 15 to 20. The lead sponsor for the event is Capital Ale House.