Virginia's craft beer popularity spills over to wider alcohol industry

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Virginia is for beer lovers.

The Commonwealth keeps adding more and more craft breweries to the marketplace, and some entrepreneurs say that's good for the whole alcohol industry.

Steve and Jo Villers are mapping out the new Roanoke home of Blacksnake Meadery. The Carroll County business is expanding to a Main Street storefront as interest in the booming craft beer business spills over into other forms of alcohol.

"Our typical customers are usually beer enthusiasts," Steve Villers said. "They're a little more open to unique novel drinks. I think it's definitely part of the local food movement and just wanting something different, something unique, something made in the area."

The craft beer business contributes about $10 billion a year to Virginia's economy.

The Commonwealth now has 206 licensed breweries -- including the new Ballast Point -- a number that's doubled in less than five years.

Tourism officials welcome the business here, and the way it promotes the region.

"It's a great opportunity -- not to be just a destination -- but an opportunity to see this distributed all over. Not just Virginia, but many, many other locations across the East Coast," Catherine Fox, of Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge, said.

As for the Villers, they plan to continue the spirit of cooperation by featuring other small businesses in the shop, like Red Rooster Coffee.

"Any of that is really going to help all of us," Steve Viller said. "Any of that kind of growth helps us all."

To follow Blacksnake Meadery's progress, click here.