Lynchburg soon will have a new brewery downtown.
Third Street Brewing, located in Farmville, plans to open a second brewery in Lynchburg at the site of the former Babcocks Auto Service at 1300 Court Street.
Brewery owner Chris Sadler signed a lease for the property Wednesday and said he hopes to begin renovations this summer.
The purchase of the property, which is assessed at $765,000 according to Lynchburg’s online geographical information system, has been in the works since last summer, he said.
He said he was surprised Lynchburg, a dynamic city with a lot going on, had no brewery.
“There are a lot of good things going on with restaurants, entertainment venues, it’s a happening place if you ask me,” he said.
By the time the brewery is in full production, he hopes to hire about 20 people.
Renovation work and installing brewing equipment should take between five and six months, he said, and the brewery plans to open to the public by the end of the year or early 2020.
Ashley Kershner, executive director of the Downtown Lynchburg Association, said she is excited to welcome the brewery to downtown.
“We have been looking for a brewery to join us downtown for a while, I think Third Street is going to be a perfect fit,” she said Thursday. “Their business will add immense value to the downtown entertainment experience, and we hope it is the first of many to come."
Though the entire building, where Bobby Babcock operated his business since the 1980s, is about 20,000 square feet, the brewery will only use about 6,700 square feet for the taproom and production.
With about 13,000 square feet left of the building and three acres of land, Tucker Adamson, Babcock’s daughter and the owner of the building, said there are a “few irons in the fire” for what will become of the leftover space but nothing has materialized yet.
As far as the design of the brewery, Sadler said he wants to keep as much of the 1950s vintage elements of the building as possible.
He sees it as a place to bring all people together.
“I like to think of the space as a good pair of jeans. Our whole thing is for it to be a spot where people of all walks of life feel comfortable. We don’t want it to be snobby or exclusive,” he said.
Though the brewery itself will not serve its own food, Sadler plans to bring in local food trucks to the site on a regular basis just as the Farmville location does. The brewery will have an outdoor space for picnic tables and live music. Sadler also plans for the brewery to partner with community and educational groups in the city.
Though Sadler is the primary owner of the brewery, about 25 percent of the business is owned by locals in Farmville — a business tactic he hopes to bring to Lynchburg.
“Local ownership is helpful,” he said. “It keeps you community-based and owners have no shyness of what they like and don’t like. It’s good to have that input.”
The original Third Street Brewing opened on 312 West 3rd Street in Farmville in September 2017 and brews four flagship beers and five seasonal and experimental beers, Sadler said.
He said the brewery focuses on a broad range of quality crafted beers from traditional to creative. Beers range in style from hoppy to sour to crisp and refreshing.
Brewmaster David Steeves will to bring his talents to Lynchburg, just as he has in Farmville, Sadler said.
Adamson said she is excited for the space to be an anchor in downtown as 12th Street begins to build up and redevelop.
She referenced Danny George, who is working on redeveloping the nearby property at 712 12th St. into loft apartments.
Adamson said she is excited about the future of downtown and the evolution of 1300 Court St.
“Finally Lynchburg is getting a brewery,” she said. “It will be easy for people to get in and out. There’s good parking and it will be a great place for people to come hang out. It will be neat to see new life brought into this part of town. It’s a turning of the page for that area.”
Jefferson Street Brewery was Lynchburg’s most recent brewery and was located in the Craddock Terry Hotel and Event Center before it closed in 2015.
He would not say how much he is investing in the brewery in Lynchburg but did say it would be “substantial” and would be in the high six figures.
In 2017, Goochland County-based Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery expressed interest in the building for its expansion but the project never came to fruition.