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Couple wants brewpub to tap into rising trend / April 09, 2018

Lisa and Jeffrey Francisco are hoping to open a microbrewery inside the building they own at 210 Factory Street, once known as the Venture Center.

The couple brought their idea to the South Boston Planning Commission on Wednesday, asking planners to endorse a zoning amendment to allow for microbreweries, micro-wineries, and distilleries to operate within the B-2 General Business District, B-3 Central Business District, and B-4 Downtown Business Expansion District.

Planners voted unanimously in favor of the zoning amendment, which goes before South Boston Town Council tonight for possible approval.

Lisa Francisco, a local attorney, explained that she and her husband, a member of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors and a forestry consultant and local realtor, want to add South Boston to the growing list of localities that have tapped the popularity of craft beer brewpubs.

According to Lisa Francisco, as of 2016 (the most recent numbers available), there were 215 breweries operating in Virginia, adding $9 billion to the local economies, of which $1 billion comes back in state and local taxes.

Agritourism is now closely aligned with the brewery industry, she said. “There is an Ale Trail which links breweries along U.S. 58. It stops in Clarksville, and makes two stops in Danville, but does not stop in Halifax or South Boston,” she explained.

In response to a comment made by one of the planners about food service, she said they would like to have food, but not being food experts, they are looking at several options like food trucks, pizza, or allowing people to bring food in like they do at Clarksville’s brewpub, Buggs Island Brewery.

Francisco has practiced law in Halifax County for approximately five years. Jeffrey Francisco, in addition to holding the ED-2 seat on the Halifax County Board of Supervisors, operates Francisco Forestry as a forestry consultant for local landowners, and works as a real estate agent with Long and Foster Realtors.

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