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W.Va. Targets Tiny Craft Brew Trade for Big Growth

Craft Beer
Chris Matlick

One-stoplight Tucker County has the second-fewest residents in West Virginia, but soon will host a quarter of the state's craft breweries.

Mountain State Brewing Co. is West Virginia's biggest brewer, while Blackwater Brewing Co.'s owner drives the delivery truck. Another Tucker brewery is in the works.

Owners of Mountain State and Blackwater led lobbying efforts this year for a state law to help their tiny, budding industry. Last year, West Virginia and its 11 breweries only produced more craft beer than the Dakotas.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin took note and promised a craft beer bill during his State of the State speech in January.

The law effective June 12 includes tiered licensing fees; lets convenience stores, bars and restaurants sell take-home growlers; and permits brewery tour samples.

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