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James City County (JCC) has always attracted founders since 1607 and has been a place of enterprise since 1609 when glassmakers brought their trade to Jamestown. Throughout the month of May, the County will highlight a different sector of business each week in honor of Business Appreciation Month.
This week, we are highlighting the food and beverage sector. The County is a hub to food manufacturing including businesses related to food and food packaging. These businesses include a brewery, a winery, an applesauce manufacturer and multiple food and beverage packaging companies.
Anheuser-Busch InBev came to JCC in 1972 and has continued to expand on their 144 acre site over the years. Currently, they operate in 1.2 million square feet and produce 40 different products such as Budweiser, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, Shock Top, Landshark Lager, Amberbock and Michelob ULTRA. The brewery ships approximately 250 trucks a day.
Williamsburg Distillery is a micro distillery specializing in handcrafted spirits using historic recipes and ingredients from the 18th century. The Williamsburg Distillery is the only distillery in the world to use Indian corn in their whiskey mashes to make their bourbon and gin. Currently, Williamsburg Distillery offers Jamestown Gin and Yorktown Rum while they Williamsburg Bourbon is still aging in barrels.
The Williamsburg Winery is over 40 acres of vineyards, an on-site garden, a hotel and two restaurants, Café Provencal and the Gabriel Archer Tavern all set on Wessex Hundred, a 300-acre farm. The Williamsburg Winery opened in 1988 and is open year round. The Williamsburg Winery is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s largest winery. There are numerous sites on property for group tastings, weddings and private events. Additionally, the Williamsburg Winery hosts a variety of special events throughout the year that are open to the public.
Virginia Gourmet packages and distributes Mrs. Bryant’s apple sauce from its location in McLaws Circle. Virginia Gourmet sells organic and natural products including gluten free, local, gourmet foods, beverages and ingredients with no additives, no preservatives and no sugar substitutes.
Virginia Packing is a specialty co-packer located in the upper part of the County. Virginia Packing specializes in cured meats, cheeses and other quality foods. These specialty products require careful handling and extra attention to detail. Virginia Packing is the exclusive meat slicer and packer of Spanish jamón for La Tienda, the leading online retailer for imported products from Spain.
Ball Metal opened in 1972 in JCC and cost $12 million to build. It was the first plant the company built from the ground up to stamp cans. The plant was originally built solely to serve the local brewery, but is far more diverse now, manufacturing 12-ounce cans for several Pepsi and Coca-Cola facilities between Richmond and Baltimore and 16-ounce cans for energy drinks such as Rock Star, Monster and a number of smaller boutique companies. Ball utilizes sustainability and to conserve metal and has reduced the size of can tops and down-gauged the metal to produce a thinner can, but most everything else remains the same.
Owens-Illinois (O-I) opened its Toano plant in 1980. The company’s glass container lines span a range of shapes and sizes for food, beer, wine, spirits and other non-alcoholic beverages. Additionally, O-I produces drug and chemical containers as well as baby food jars. O-I is the largest user of recycled glass containers in the United States, with nearly a million tons recycled annually. O-I has more than 1,500 current active patents in 61 countries on its proprietary technology. O-I’s founder Michael J. Owens, the father of modern glass bottle production, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007.
Printpack opened in JCC in 1985. Printpack is a worldwide leading manufacturer of flexible and specialty rigid packaging that is mostly used for food and medical purposes. Not sure what flexible and rigid packaging is? Examples include plastic cups with foil lids (such as apple sauce, k-cups, and “to-go” cups for soup and cookies) as well as granola bar pouches and pet food bags. Printpack is constantly seeking to take packaging from concept to commercialization. Printpack has continued to invest in its JCC location with equipment upgrades.
The County is also home to a number of food distributors including First Source (formerly Wythe Will), La Tienda and Smithfield Marketplace. Distribution businesses will be highlighted in an upcoming article.
For more information on businesses in the County, please visit our website.