Devils Backbone Brewing Company

By Meghan Storey

With an arsenal of awards on par with some of America’s oldest and most respected craft breweries, Devils Backbone Brewing Company (DBBC) has made quite a name for itself in its short existence. Founder and Owner Steve Crandall and the DBBC crew have won more medals at the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup than any other brewery in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region combined in its two-year history!

To add a little icing to the cake, in 2010, DBBC also took home the coveted award of World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster Small Brewpub—after just one year of production, producing 800 barrels annually.

Crandall says his passion for craft beer and brewing is a product of spending a lot of time out west, backpacking and skiing. The success of breweries in that area of the country played a large roll in where he decided to locate his brewery and pub. 

“It seemed to me that every successful brewery was located at the base of a mountain,” said Crandall. “I build this one at the base of the Wintergreen resort. We are surrounded by stunning beauty, including a 10,000-acre wilderness area, and the Appalachian Trail goes right over the mountain.”

Extracurricular Activities

Don’t worry, these guys aren’t all work and no play! DBBC knows how to throw a good party; along with many annual music and cycling events, the brewery and its grounds hosts The Festy Experience, a two day outdoor music festival at The Concert Grounds at Devils Backbone. The festival also gives local artisans a chance to share their products, and Nelson County is a pretty well stocked!

“We have one stoplight in the whole county, but we have three breweries, 14 wineries, a distillery and a cidery.”

Onward and Upward—Expansion is in the Works!

DBBC is working on finishing up an additional facility outside of Lexington that will drastically increase capacity and include a brand new bottling line. The new 15,000-square-foot brewery will be home to a 30-barrel brewing system which will in the hands of DBBC Head Brewer Jason Oliver.

Steve Crandall gives us a sneak peak on the progress of the new Lexington facility.

Excerpts for this post were taken from “Fast Starters: Secret Success of ‘Newbies'” by Jack Curtain in the July/August issue of The New Brewer.


Meghan StoreyMeghan Storey, the Brewers Association’s Web Editor, has been lucky enough to work in the world of craft beer for the past four years. She holds a degree in Print Journalism from the University of Mississippi, and has recently relocated to Nashville, TN. She loves to introduce friends to new craft beers and food pairings. Since beginning work on CraftBeer.com she can be found adding beer to just about everything she cooks.