Homebrewers Chris and Graham Burns turn their hobby and passion into a business.
By Evan Milberg
In the latest in Loudoun County’s exploding craft brewing industry, Ashburn will welcome Old Ox Brewery by Memorial Day weekend according to owners Chris and Graham Burns.
“My dad got me into the hobby,” Chris says of his father, Graham. “We had been brewing together for about seven years or so. The more we got into the hobby, the more we realized that we liked the industry. About three years ago we started exploring options for turning that hobby into an actual business.”
The brewery will be on the Ashburn end of the W & O D trail. Chris and Graham, who live in Ashburn, said the location was easy to pick due to the amount of support the industry receives from the local community.
“We were 100 percent sure we wanted to be in Loudoun County,” says Graham. “The local government is really supportive of the craft beer movement and they’ve really welcome us with open arms from day one and before day one.”
The brewery will be a family-run operation, with help from Graham, his sons Chris and Mike, his daughter Katie, his wife Mary Anne, and Chris’ wife Kristen. While Chris and Graham have home brewing experience, they come into Old Ox with no beer industry experience. According to Graham, however, everyone involved with the brewery has outside business experience.
“As we were attending craft brewers conferences and watching how other craft brewers were doing it, we noticed a lot of people come into this industry with industry background and not a lot of business experience, so we’re doing it backwards from the way others are doing it,” says Graham.
The Burns’ family has hired Kenny Allen, the former head brewer of Old Dominion, to be the brewmaster. The Burns family says Allen “nicely fills the void” they have in their brewing background. As for the beer itself, Old Ox will have four core beers: a session IPA, which they consider to be their flagship beer; a strength IPA; an iced, chocolate-y rye porter, and a “training wheels beer,” a fruity-tasting Belgian blonde.
As of now, the facility is about 12,400 square feet and will produce roughly 20,000 barrels per year. / Old Ox Brewing, 44652 Guilford Drive, Ashburn