Though we’re confident we’ll have as much heart as any Virginia brewery, there’s no denying that we are “the little guy.”
Even at full production with our current 3-barrel system, we’ll be one of the smallest breweries in the state. And as the self-proclaimed “little guy,” we hope to be able to support as many other small family businesses as we can. This will likely span a variety of industries ranging from tradespeople, who will help us complete our brewery, to artists, who will help to decorate our walls; from farmers raising the food we’ll serve in our taproom, to those growing the ingredients that will go in our beer. The small scale nature of our brewing operation is going to allow us to partner with local businesses, even potentially brewing dry hopped IPAs with fresh hops from right up the road. To start to cultivate these relationships, we’ve begun to reach out to some of these individuals.
Which brings us to Hans Kalkofen, a man that meets many of these criteria and is someone we hope to support as much as possible going forward. Hans Kalkofen and the farm he co-owns and runs with his family would certainly not be considered anything above a tiny, fledgling farm, but his heart and passion are obvious, and his dreams for the farm far surpass its current “little guy” scope. Shadowlawn farm is less than ten miles up the road from us and sits on a beautiful piece of property overlooking the James River. It was started 3 three years ago solely as a small hop yard but quickly expanded. Hans now raises a small flock of Clun Forest sheep and two varieties of heritage pigs: Ossabaw Island Hogs and Mulefoots. The hop yard currently grows about a hundred crowns of Cascade and Chinook hops but has room for expansion of up to over 300. The four ewes recently gave birth to four more ewes, doubling his breeding capability and just a few days ago one of his Mulefoots (seen below getting her much enjoyed belly rub) gave birth to 5 healthy piglets!
Gabe and I got the chance to stop by Shadowlawn Farm and speak with Hans the other day (unfortunately just days before the piglets came.) It was encouraging to see young people like Hans investing in farming as a potential career and also investing in our own county. While we’re still a little ways out from being able to purchase anything from Hans, we plan on keeping the communication open and supporting him and his family in the near future. Keep checking back for updates on Shadowlawn’s progress throughout this growing season as well as a peek at some other local businesses.