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The Next Stone?

A second West Coast brewery considers Richmond for a new home.

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It looks like Richmond’s alcohol content could climb even higher. A second craft brewery from the West Coast is exploring Richmond as a location for a planned expansion eastward, according to three local and state officials familiar with the deal.

The brewery expressed interest in Richmond specifically as a result of the decision by San-Diego-based Stone Brewing Co. to make the city the home of its East Coast expansion, say the sources, who ask not to be identified.

Maurice Jones, the state secretary of commerce who was integral in putting together the deal that brought Stone to Richmond, declines to comment, citing confidentiality agreements. But he does confirm that “the Commonwealth of Virginia — in several spots — is getting expressions of interest from craft breweries.”

“Stone has had a positive impact already in commending to other craft breweries that this is a place they need to be looking,” Jones says.

It’s too soon to name the brewery considering Richmond because the talks are at an early stage where publicity could kill them, the sources say, but the company ranks among the top 30 on the Brewer’s Association list of top U.S. craft breweries by beer sales volume.

If the brewery decides to locate in Richmond, it’s likely that an announcement wouldn’t be made until summer.

The sources also say that Norfolk, which lost out to Richmond for the Stone project, is in advanced talks with an even larger craft brewery.

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