Business notes: May 12

rarriaza@vagazette.com

The Williamsburg Anheuser-Busch brewery will offer tours of its facility to the public for the first time in nearly 20 years this summer.

The series of “pop-up tours” is set to begin on Thursday, June 1, and will take place once a month on select weekends June through September.

Williamsburg Brewmaster Jeff Scott says the community’s diminished visibility to the public over time is what inspired him to open the plant up for tours for the first time since 1990.

“We’ve got a pretty big presence in the community as far as our workforce, but I think people aren’t necesarily aware of that,” said Scott. “We’re proud of our quality and our brands, and we really want to share that and have a little bit more visibility to our community to show some of our pride.”

Visitors 21 and older will get to sample beer directly at its source, tasting samples of beer going through the brewery’s 21-day aging cycle and directly from a filtered beer tank. The tour will also include a visit to one of the control rooms that the plant used when it first opened in 1972, as well as the plant’s brewing, lagering and finishing cellars.

Spokesperson Lauren Schuster says the tour “provides a unique behind-the-scenes look at the art of brewing Budweiser.”

Tickets for guests 21 and older are $25, and $10 for those between the ages of 13 and 20. Children younger than 13 will not be allowed on the tour.

Each pop-up tour will last 60 to 90 minutes, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For a full tour schedule and advance booking, visit budweisertours.com.

At its monthly meeting on May 10, City Council approved a special-use permit for Magic Touch Auto Detailing on Richmond Road, which will now be able to offer window tinting and interior and exterior detailing in a new retail space at 1455 Richmond Road.

The auto shop currently offers and installs auto decals, stickers and signs. With the new permit, the store’s manager Mohammed Bawaieh will expand into the retail space next door. The special-use permit ensures the auto shop complies with the city’s adopted comprehensive plan and does not damage or discourage the development of any surrounding businesses, according to Erin Burke, the city’s principal planner.

“That side of Richmond Road is unique because those lots are so small, so uses like this are compatable,” said Vice-Mayor Scott Foster at the meeting.

Bawaieh says he will look to hire two additonal staff members to serve customers at the new storefront.

“As long as the conditions are met I’m fine with it, and I think it’s good to help a business owner expand his business and have additional opportunities,” said Council member Barbara Ramsey.

New business networking organization NOW held its first event at the Lauchpad Business Incubator on April 25.

NOW, which stands for Networking Over Williamsburg, aims to facilitate events connecting small businesses and entrepeneurs across the Greater Williamsburg area.

“Their objective is to provide productive networking events that foster building strong relationships to will help everyone succeed in their business endeavors,” wrote co-founder Jennifer Metcalf in a news release. “Bringing uplifting seminars and compelling topics of interest will benefit, challenge, and add value to everyone while continuing to grow in their businesses.”

NOW will hold its next networking event for small business owners at Habana Hemingway Cafe from 5 to 7 p.m. The event is free, and will feature Salsa dancing lessons afterwards.

Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.

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