Devil’s Backbone Brewing
The state’s largest and most popular craft brewery
Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company was founded in Roseland, Virginia, in 2008 by husband and wife, Steve and Heidi Crandall. They built their stunning lodge-style brewery facility on an expansive 100-acre property, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. After many travels in Europe where pubs play an important role in small town communities, and other trips to the Western United States where brewpubs are increasingly common in regions with great outdoor sports and activities, the Crandalls decided that Nelson County, and specifically the Three Ridges Wilderness area, was the perfect place to bring great food and beer to the people.
The name “Devil’s Backbone” was selected as a nod to the region’s history. In 1746, forty people were handpicked to carve and measure a straight line, eighty miles long through wilderness, connecting the sources of the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers - it was known as ‘The Fairfax Line.’ Old journal entries noted the danger of this task, calling the area ‘Purgatory’ and naming a ridge line ‘Devil’s Backbone.’ This brewery helps honor those brave Virginians and their pioneering spirit.
The company founded a 15,000 square foot production facility and taproom, which they named, “The Outpost”, in 2012 in a location close by Lexington, Virginia.
Devil’s Backbone produces roughly 128 different great beers all made from high quality ingredients. The first beer brewed here was the Eight Point IPA, which still remains amongst the company’s “Basecamp Favorites”. Although not the first, the most notable of all the beers brewed by the company is the award winning Vienna Lager. The Vienna Lager was included in Men’s Journal as one of the “Best 100 Beers in the World”, and also by Food & Wine as one of the “50 Best American Lagers”. In 2015, the popular Vienna lager made up almost 60% of the beer company’s total volume.
Devil’s Backbone Brewing produced nearly 62,000 barrels of beer in 2015, and jumped significantly to 75,000 barrels of beer just one year later in 2016. In 2016, the company began releasing both the Vienna Lager and Eight Point IPA in 12-ounce cans, and more importantly was purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev, to be a part of their team of craft brewing companies.
With a heap of awards on par with some of America’s oldest and most respected craft breweries, Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company has made quite a name for itself in its short existence. In fact, the brewery has earned nearly 30 medals at the annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver and 7 awards at the World Beer Cup. In 2012, the company was named Small Brewpub of the Year, in 2013 Small Brewing Company of the Year, and in 2014, Mid-Size Brewing Company and Brew Team of the Year, all at the Denver festival.
Aside from their incredible success in beer sales, Devils Backbone launched a program called the Heartland Initiative, which serves the community through special programs and partnerships. The program, started in 2017 is based on five core pillars of focus, which are: Neighbors, Environment, Industry, Operations, and Family. The hardworking employees of Devils Backbone designed this program as a thank you to all the people and places who have helped make them who they are today.
Devil’s Backbone crafts authentic and eclectic craft beers using a traditional German-style brewing system at their original Roseland, Virginia location and their second location in Lexington. We hope you enjoy two of Devil’s Backbone’s flagship beers in this month’s Craft Beer Club feature.