HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- The River City has become a destination for people searching for craft beer thanks to a growing number of breweries.
The humble owner of a celebrated brewery, The Answer Brewpub at 6008 W. Broad Street, credits his success to a number of factors, including his customers.
"The best part about the craft beer community: they’re like a family, a big family," said An Bui, the brewery’s founder.
But while Bui might be the owner of the brewery he started in 2014, he prefers a different title.
"In the beer world we don't go by CFO, or CEO, we go by CBO: chief beer officer,” Bui laughed.
Bui, a native of Vietnam who has lived in Virginia since 1986, has a passion for beer. But more important than his passion is his palette.
"It’s the flavor,” he explained. “So they want to come in, they want to taste the fresh fruit, or if you want a stout that you say, you want it to taste like a chocolate cake, we make it look like it tastes like a chocolate cake."
That is just one reason why the brewery has won local and state awards, and has also put The Answer on the national map. Bui said the brewery’s secret to success is simple.
“You brew a great beer,” he said. “Being friendly, being humble, interact with the community, you'll be successful. That's the secret."
Behind the scenes, Bui has an array of tanks named after characters for his love of “Star wars.”
“Just like babies, we like to give them names," Bui said.
For example, there is Yoda and Jabba the Hutt. Those names also adorn the tanks that go straight to the tap.
"We got these four serving tanks that we connect out to the draft, so you can taste the freshest that it can be,” Bui said.
And it is a fresh taste that has helped Richmond become a beer destination with nearly 40 breweries. Bui is currently the only minority in the game, but his contribution in a sizeable.
"It doesn't matter if you are a minority or not,” Bui explained. “If you are a great brewer, you brew great beer, people will come and buy your beer and support your beer."
Bui credit’s The Answer’s extraordinary success to a number of factors.
"It's a blessing. It’s something that I can’t explain to myself,” Bui said. “It’s come down to hard work, the community that's surrounding us. I mean, I don’t know if we can put the word successful. It’s just great for this community and great for this town and it's been a blessing.”
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