At least it’s decent beer.
I have never received a return email from the folks at the Cordish Company, the developers of the revitalized Waterside, so I don’t expect to get one now. But here’s my question:
Why bring in a current national level brewery when we have a number of local breweries who clearly have the chops to take their business to the next level?
This kind of opportunity could have been a big deal for our most established breweries, O’Connor Brewing Company and Smartmouth. If the new Waterside concept is the hit that Cordish is ostensibly expecting it to be, that’s a lot of dollars heading up the road that could have been staying right here in Norfolk. That’s a lot of positive buzz for local brewers given to a much more well-established brand that, frankly, doesn’t do anything so spectacular to warrant the special treatment.
Did Cordish bother to give O’Connor a call?
How about Smartmouth?
“Talked to Porter. He did not get a call either,” said Smartmouth’s Chris Neikirk. “Will be interesting to see if the Waterside entertainment concept steals folks from the Norva.”
That’s right: there will also be a concert venue competing with the Norva to go along with the brewery competing with our locals and the chain restaurants sucking dollars from the resurgent independent restaurant scene Downtown. Feels a little like the City of Norfolk is betting against itself here.
As a citizen and champion of Norfolk, I want to see OBC and Smartmouth blow up bigger and bigger. I want my friends on the West Coast to know about them. I want Norfolk’s brand to be able to share in the success of the OBC and Smartmouth brands.
Like I said, at least Starr Hill is pretty tasty.
According to the press release… well, the press release doesn’t give many details. Here it is:
Starr Hill Brewery and The Cordish Companies are pleased and excited to announce their partnership to develop a new concept in Waterside District, presently under construction, located in downtown Norfolk, VA on the waterfront.
Initially founded in a live music hall in Charlottesville, VA, Starr Hill Brewery is among the largest and most awarded craft breweries in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic. The Cordish Companies is internationally renowned for it’s development of entertainment districts, its Live! brand and destination developments. The partnership between the two companies, combining in Waterside District, is their first venture together.
Could the City of Norfolk have stepped in and demanded the Maryland-based Cordish Company go with a local brewer for this major part of their new Waterside? Sure they could have, during their negotiations. There were numerous other bidders for the project. So it goes.
As far as I can tell, the new Waterside concept is still being cooked. Cordish Company, if you’re out there, please emphasize supporting local businesses in your decision making process. The people of Norfolk will thank you for it with our wallets. These are our friends and neighbors who we want to see succeed: