HAMPTON, Va. - Brews, booze, good eats and good music.
The Vanguard Brewpub & Distillery on King St. in Downtown Hampton has worn a lot of hats since opening in March of 2018.
This weekend it'll celebrate its third anniversary in style with a free concert on March 6 starting at 7 p.m. featuring the music of Anthony Rosano.
The 1,170 capacity space has been struggling since the outbreak of COVID-19 a year ago, says Randy Thomas, The Vanguard's President.
"If we were just a restaurant and music venue, I would not have survived, but the fact that we make beer and liquor, it allowed us to continue manufacturing and sell to other places that were opening back up," he said.
Thomas, a contractor by trade, bought the old Virginia National Guard building five years ago. He tells News 3 once he saw the inside of the then-dilapidated space, he knew what he wanted to do with it within a couple hours.
When it finally opened, Thomas recalls it took a couple years to get things running the way he wanted. When he got to that point, COVID-19 hit.
"Once the FDA allowed craft distilleries to make hand sanitizer, we immediately went into making hand sanitizer. That really is what bridged the gap from complete shutdown to these restricted openings where we could start having customers dining in," he said.
Now that Virginia restaurants and bars can serve alcohol until midnight again, the hope is it will increase sales of Vanguard's in-house brewed beer and distilled liquor sold until the Caiseal Beer & Spirits Co. name.
"Hopefully as more people get the vaccine, people will be more comfortable to come out," said Thomas.
The Vanguard is located at 504 N. King Street in Hampton.