Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Richmond and Charlottesville, VA

The Nature Conservancy is celebrating fall with OktoberForest, a collaboration with local brewers to raise awareness about the importance of forests in providing clean water. We sat down with events manager Margo Fairchild from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery to talk about nature’s role in the making and enjoyment of craft beer.

Visit nature.org/OktoberForest to learn more about the connection between healthy forests and clean water, and see the list of participating OktoberForest breweries across the country!


How has nature inspired you as a brewery? – especially as you’ve been expanding?

Margo Fairchild:

Hardywood has always had a fond commitment to nature. The concept of Hardywood Brewery was born on a farm in Australia by two lifelong friends with a shared love of the outdoors.

Our Richmond location uses felled trees as the live edges to our bar tops and all of our tap handles have been crafted locally from reclaimed wood. We are continuously seeking ways to be inspired by nature.

As we expand out to West Creek in Goochland County, VA, we're setting up shop along the banks of the Tuckahoe Creek, with a natural amphitheater for outdoor performances in the trees. The property has achieved Certified Wildlife Habitat classification by the National Wildlife Federation, and Hardywood is pursuing Envision Gold rating for the project.

The beautiful and diverse ecology has inspired us to incorporate reforestation into the next phases of our development. West Creek's trees, tributaries, and natural inhabitants allow for a breathtaking view from the brewery, a glimpse into the inspiration that we pull from daily.


What important connections do you see between healthy forests, clean water, and good beer?

Margo Fairchild:

As a beer’s base and the main in ingredient in a batch of the good stuff, great beer relies heavily on great water. Keeping forests and natural ecology clean is one of the only ways to ensure that bright, safe, and healthy water can be used to nourish our communities and to make outstanding, award-winning beer.

For one of Hardywood’s beers, The Great Return, Hardywood provides $5 per barrel to the James River Association to promote a cleaner river system. The beer is named in honor of the return of the Atlantic sturgeon to the James after the species was thought to be extinct from the river.


How is Hardywood working to be sustainable and environmentally friendly?

Margo Fairchild:

Our mission statement at Hardywood is 'Brew with Purpose.' With everything we do, we have commitments to the environment and community at the forefront of our agenda.

We're proud to say that we're one of the leading breweries in the market for sustainability as we work with the Dominion Energy Green Power Program to harness 100% of our electricity from renewable resources such as wind, biomass and solar.

We also have a strong focus on sourcing from local farms and growers to use quality, thoughtfully grown, and environmentally sourced produce and grain. With our expansion to West Creek, we hope to eventually be able to grow and harvest produce and hops from our own gardens, limiting the environmental impact that transporting these products could pose.

Here at Hardywood, we're literally propelled by nature and that's how the best beer is made!


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