Local brewery first in D.C. in 50 years

For the first time in 50 years, a brewery is up and running in the District. D.C. Brau brewing company is turning out thousands of cans a day.

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(Photo: TBD Staff)

“It's been a legendary response. Better than anything we could have hoped for,” said Jeff Hancock, president of D.C. Brau Brewing.

He and business partner Brandon Skall have turned their love of beer into a burgeoning business.

“We are not a brew pub, we are not a restaurant, we are simply a factory. We just come in here and make beer,” CEO Skall said.

Last year they quit their day jobs and in March started the brewery on Bladensburg Road in Northeast. It is the first brewery in the District since 1956.

”It's something to stand behind, and me being a D.C. resident I want to have something local I can drink when I go out,” Hancock said.

The 6,700 square foot brewery includes six fermenters. It can turn out about 500 gallons of their three brews every two weeks.

Already D.C. Brau is served in some 75 pubs and bars across the city. Several grocery store shipments sold out in hours.

“We used a lot of social media, Facebook, Twitter, so we were able to build hype around the brand before the beer was actually brewed,” Hancock said.

The brewery will soon offer tastings, something that wasn't allowed until the D.C. council passed special legislation this month.

“It was important that we bring this industry back. It's a tourism industry: in other jurisdiction, people actually go see craft breweries, so there’s an economic impact in that regard,” Ward 5 councilmember Harry Thomas said.

For these business partners, their dream has become a reality, accompanied by hard work.

”It's a seven-day workweek, 10- to 12-hour days sometimes, but it's my passion and I love it. I can never complain,” Hancock said.

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