Cheers Check-in: Beer Garden Coming Soon to Coca-Cola Building

Posted on October 5, 2014 by

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Beer Run owners Josh Hunt and John Woodriff decided years ago that it was time to think about expanding their popular Belmont restaurant, beer store, and taphouse. The brothers have had their eyes on the former Coca-Cola bottling plant on Preston Avenue for a long time, so when two regular customers, who happen to be local developers, bought the building and asked them to be their first tenants, the answer seemed fairly obvious.

“We kind of jumped at the opportunity,” Hunt said.

Charlottesville-based Riverbend Development bought the 38,000-square-foot Art Deco building in 2013 and is converting it into a retail and office complex. Hunt and Woodriff’s new Kardinal Beer Hall and Garden is the first business to sign on to the project.

The historic Coca-Cola bottling plant on Preston Avenue will soon house the Kardinal Beer Hall and Garden.

The historic Coca-Cola bottling plant on Preston Avenue will soon house the Kardinal Beer Hall and Garden.

“My brother and I have been talking about doing sort of a beer garden concept for about four years or so,” Hunt said. “We just wanted to create something that didn’t exist.”

While business at Beer Run has been “going great” since it opened about seven years ago, Hunt said there isn’t a lot of room to expand the business at its Carlton Road location. The brothers began eyeing some industrial spaces for a second location and kept coming back to the old Coca-Cola plant, but those dreams seemed out of reach when a bio-tech company bought the Art Deco building about three years ago.

Beer Run went back to the drawing board, but the bio-tech company’s plans fell through, leaving the building up for grabs again.

The historic building’s new owners, Alan Taylor and John Pritzlaff of Riverbend Development, came in to Beer Run on a recent Saturday morning to order their usual breakfast tacos and decided to approach Hunt and Woodriff about joining their new project as an anchor tenant.

“We kind of thought if we’re going to do another project, we might as well do it,” Hunt said. “Charlottesville’s growing and we felt like it could support something like this.”

The Kardinal Beer Hall and Garden will include about 5,600 square feet of indoor space with about 250 seats, a bar, and a food service area.

“It’s a similar idea behind the food as at Beer Run – all made in-house, all high quality ingredients,” Hunt said, adding the new venue will probably have more shared plates, as well as a variety of sausage dishes and flat-top burgers.

“The idea is we want to be able to accommodate groups of people,” he said.

Outside, the beer garden will also have a bar and seating for about 150 people.

“It’s going to be a green space with native plants,” Hunt said. “The idea is to create a really beautiful green space where people will be able to hang out and drink beer.”

Speaking of beer, the Kardinal Beer Hall and Garden will have about 24 to 25 taps pouring a variety of local, national, and European-style craft brews, as well as ciders, meads, local wines, and specialty beverages.

There also will be bocce courts, ping pong tables, and other games for patrons to enjoy.

The Kardinal Beer Hall and Garden could be open as soon as next Spring, but the building’s historical status means any new construction must be approved by architectural and historical review boards. The regulatory hurdles and potential delays haven’t dampened the new tenant’s spirit.

“We’re really excited for it,” Hunt said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re definitely looking forward to it.”

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Posted in: cheers, New to Cville