After stepping away from corporate life, a 35-year-old man who once owned a craft beer bar in Australia is looking to take his knowledge and industry contacts to a new level.
Anton Sagan has taken over Aslin Beer Co.’s old space in Herndon’s Sunset Business Park at 257 Sunset Park Drive and plans to open in December for takeaways and a taproom, creating small batches of fruit-based craft beers with four 132-gallon fermentation vessels, which can create 300 crowlers (32-ounce cans) at a time.
The space currently features ingredients he’s importing from around the world: malts from Germany, an in-demand product called Phantasm that uses Sauvignon blanc grapes from New Zealand and more.
“We’re already playing with our recipes here,” he said. “Being so niche with hops with the other business, … but having that background … gave us that additional knowledge base with the recipes we want to create now.”
He brewed the first batch for the public last month for private events and a pandemic-induced craft beer called FML Festival at a Hampton brewery last month, and he said he’s looking to have a handful of flavors that rotate each month, starting off with flavors such as peach-banana-vanilla (vanilla from Madagascar, Sagan notes) and Siberian berry.
Sagan, who attended grade school in Cherry Creek in western New York state and went to university in Australia, has lived abroad, including Moscow, but he and his wife and two kids relocated during the pandemic to Herndon this year.
Living for 15 years in Australia by way of Melbourne and Sydney, he got connected with farmers and sold hops through the craft beer-focused distributor Hops Engine, which eventually began selling to Aslin Beer Co. Sagan also got connected with former Tired Hands and Foreign Objects brewer Steven di Eva, who’s serving as his brewer.
“As we grow into it, we’ve got 10 taps we want to be running at any one time,” he said.
He thinks the taproom will allow for 30-40 people, even though the space can accommodate more on paper.
“Having that intimacy is important to us,” he said. “We want to stay small and local and humble.”
He’s looking to work with local shops and farms and is already providing spent hops to a family farm for animals free of charge.
An online tool has created ways for craft beer drinkers and wine aficionados to pour out discounts.
The tourism organization Visit Fairfax announced today the launch of its Locally Poured Field Guide, a free digital passport that comes via text message and email to get deals at breweries and wineries in the region. People can sign up at www.FXVA.com/beer.
“We have seen continued growth in Fairfax County’s craft beverage scene over the last several years and have been working closely with our local brewers and winemakers to support their businesses through tourism,” Barry Biggar, president and CEO of Visit Fairfax, said in a news release.
Discounts currently listed through the online tool include 50% off beer flights at various breweries, 5% and 15% reductions from one’s tabs or bills at two places, and for Lake Anne Brew House, $1 off a new visitor’s first pint, 10% off merchandise and 20% off growler fills. Participants show their phone to check in and redeem discounts.
“This new digital-only Field Guide welcomes Fairfax County’s two vineyard wineries and one urban winery to the fold, in addition to the now 12 craft breweries located within the county’s jurisdiction,” tourism reps said in the news release.
The tourism organization hopes to promote the county’s breweries and wineries and it also includes prize drawings for checking in at seven of the 15 participating locations.
Technology company Bandwango, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, partnered with Visit Fairfax to develop the program.
Current participating breweries and wineries are the following:
- Aslin Beer Co. in Herndon
- Bike Lane Brewing & Cafe in Reston
- Bunnyman Brewing in Burke
- Caboose Commons in Merrifield
- Caboose Tavern in Vienna
- Fair Winds Brewing Co. in Newington
- G34.3 Brewing Co. in Newington
- Honor Brewing Co. in Chantilly
- Lake Anne Brew House in Reston
- Mustang Sally Brewing Co. in Chantilly
- Ono Brewing Co. in Chantilly
- Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton
- Settle Down Easy Brewing Co. in Idylwood
- The Winery at Bull Run by Manassas National Battlefield Park
- Woodlawn Press Winery in Mount Vernon