VIRGINIA BEACH – After five years of brewing beer on busy and bustling Shore Drive, Pleasure House Brewing will soon be heading to a new location on, fittingly enough, Pleasure House Road.
The move is long overdue but not without its risks, said head brewer Drew Stephenson, but the move will give the brewery more space for its brewing operation, more room for customers, and better access to food choices.
“The biggest risk is taking on larger property and attendant expenses, in this very tight and competitive market,” Stephenson said. “However, our original/current location is beyond played out.”
Once open, the brewery will be at 2032 Pleasure House Road.
Stephenson said the Pleasure House team, which includes his brother and silent partner Alex, Publican Tim O’Brien, and Kevin Loos, who manages merchandise and business development, anticipates that tasting rooms in both the front and rear of the building, lots of seating, a game room (darts and board games inside, cornhole outside), and expanded beer offerings — all in a location that is much more easily accessible to a larger sector of the community — will outweigh the risks involved.
The rear tasting room will include a large garage door that when open will allow for outdoor seating, while the physical brewing operations will expand to 2,500 square feet located in the center of the building.
Negotiations on the building began last summer and work on the building started in mid-July. Stephenson said contractors expect to wrap up the remodeling work by late October or mid-November.
The idea for a move involved more than just the Pleasure House team.
“Mostly we are reacting to community input,” he said. “Separate parking, food trucks, outdoor seating, and a more accessible location — read: not down Shore Drive and over the Lesner Bridge — those were the main comments.”
As far as the team is concerned, they’re happy to have more space that will allow the separation of production and public spaces; a rebuilding of their barrel-aging program; and access to a loading dock.
Pleasure House is moving from 11 to 15 taps and will keep six of their most popular beers on tap at all times, with the expansion allowing for a lot more of the experimentation Stephenson said they’ve become known for.
Additionally the tasting rooms and game room will be available for private rentals.
“We are very excited to partner with neighboring businesses. We have already begun talks with the restaurants, stores, and caterers in the area and look forward to cross-promoting and working together to benefit our community,” Stephenson said.
The new location is a standalone building with about 7,000 square feet, compared to just around 2,500 square feet in the brewery’s current location.