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On Saturday, Rocket Frog Brewing Company officially opened its doors in Loudoun County, thanks to a chance meeting that happened three years ago and 3,000 miles away.
Richard and David Hartogs are twin brothers, beer experts, and represented two-thirds of the ownership team looking to build a brewery in Northern Virginia. They attended the 2015 Craft Brewers Conference and Expo in Portland, Oregon, where they met with Loudoun’s Agricultural Development Officer Kellie Hinkle for the first time.
At the time, the brothers were looking for locations in neighboring jurisdictions and had not yet considered Loudoun.
“The encounter was welcoming and gave us a good feeling about Loudoun County,” Richard recalled. A second meeting, this time at a conference in Philadelphia, helped seal the deal.
“We went back home and continued to try to land a spot in Reston,” Richard said. “Once our brokers gave us bad news about that spot, the first person I contacted was Kellie.”
Parking is one of the biggest logistical hurdles of opening a brewery, and Rocket Frog is no different. Where other jurisdictions gave the duo nightmares, Loudoun made things easy.
“Loudoun had the most sensible parking requirements in the D.C. metro area,” Richard explained, “and the zoning department was easily accessible.”
Hinkle coordinated efforts within Loudoun Economic Development and helped streamline the development process with other county departments. Customer service is key to economic development, and is needed at each step of the development process.
“The county staff is easily accessible and works with you to make sure you are doing everything right,” Hartogs said. “We never felt alone when issues popped up.”
On Saturday, almost three years to the day after meeting Hinkle, she helped hold the ceremonial ribbon as they celebrated the grand opening of Rocket Frog Brewing.
“It has truly been a privilege to watch the launch of Rocket Frog Brewing from Portland to Philadelphia, to the final landing in Loudoun. Richard and David have a passion for quality beer and family; that’s what this brewery is about and we are thrilled to officially welcome them to Loudoun.”
Posted by Kellie Hinkle on Saturday, May 19, 2018
If you are interested in joining Loudoun’s award-winning craft beverage industry, please contact Kellie Hinkle, or give us a call at 1-(800)-LOUDOUN.