Before tipping back your next pint of craft beer, drink in this historical perspective from Matt Hagerman, who helped save the craft beer movement in Loudoun County.
Hagerman is the CEO and founder of Lost Rhino Brewing Co., which is celebrating eight years in Ashburn this summer. That includes a full day of activities on Saturday, June 22, with the release of its 2019 anniversary beer, “Ocho Rhino,” music by Mercy Creek from 2 to 5 p.m., Al’s Food Truck from 7 to 10 p.m. and an eight-hour braised rib food special.
But the road to Lost Rhino’s bronze anniversary nearly ended before it began, as detailed in this week’s Loudoun Now “Get Out Loudoun” edition.
Hagerman admits that he had to “harass” the former Old Dominion Brewing Co.’s owner until he got his first job in the industry. He started at the bottom, cleaning floors, before slowly working his way up to mechanic before breaking into brewing.
Old Dominion’s sale to Anheuser-Busch led to his departure from the company but also honed his desire to start his own Ashburn brewery. As it turned out, his timing was perfect to swoop in and buy Old Dominion’s brewing and tasting room equipment, which he did with the help of a fortuitous, 11th-hour investment (well worth the read).
By picking up the remains of Old Dominion, Hagerman’s Lost Rhino helped carry the torch for Loudoun brewing. In the time since, Lost Rhino has opened a Retreat location in Brambleton, riding the wave of craft beer popularity. Looking back after eight years, Loudoun owes a lot to Hagerman and Lost Rhino.
“One thing to remember is that Ashburn was really a pioneer for craft brewing. They were one of the very first into the game in the mid-80s,” Hagerman told Loudoun Now. “There was nothing out here. It was literally farmland and that was about it.”
Lost Rhino is ready for the next chapter of growth, adding outdoor seating for the first time and adding a six-tank brewing system that will triple the brewing capacity.
“It is really important that we keep the roots here in Loudoun County and in Ashburn in particular because they run pretty deep for craft beer as a whole,” Hagerman told Loudoun Now. “Those are stories that we can tell that make up who we are.”