Stable Craft Brewing honored at Virginia Craft Beer Cup Awards

Christopher Fann, the head brewer at Stable Craft Brewing in Waynesboro, was honored among the best brewmasters in the state in the 2017 Virginia Craft Beer Cup Awards, which were presented Monday in Richmond.

Christopher Fann won second place in the Amber and Brown American Beer category for Stable Craft’s Britchin Brown Ale.
The honor came from the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, which gave out awards in 24 categories, encompassing 356 total entries from Virginia craft brewers.

The Virginia Craft Beer Cup is the largest state competition of its kind in the United States, and the aim of the competition is to give VCBG members the opportunity to obtain critical feedback from certified judges and get noticed statewide.

“The Virginia Craft Beer Cup recognizes brilliant independent craft beer and the creativity of the brewers that make it all happen,” said Brett Vassey, president, and CEO of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild. “Congratulations to all the teams that competed in this year’s Cup.”
The Virginia Craft Beer Cup competition was managed by Master Beer Judge Certification Program Judge Tom Cannon and 40 judges.
The judging took place May 13 at Fair Winds Brewing Company in Lorton.

Award winners will be featuring their beers in their tasting rooms, at festivals and through their wholesale and retail partners. The VCBG encourages craft beer enthusiasts to tour these breweries and sample the award-winning craft beers.

To learn more about these breweries and plan your next trip, visit the craft brewery directory at or go to the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s craft beer site to plan your next weekend or vacation
The VCBG also encourages anyone interested in tasting many of these award-winning beers at one place to register for the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest coming up on August 19 in Charlottesville


Stable Craft Brewing Co. marks formal grand opening

stable craft brewing coHermitage Hill Farm & Stables marked its 10th year in operation with the grand opening on Thursday of Stable Craft Brewing Co., a destination brewery that over the course of the next year will create 20 jobs in Augusta County.

Owner Craig Nargi began work four years ago on the plans to add the brewery, which includes a tasting room, catering business and farm store. Stable Craft Brewing Co. will operate on the premises with Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables, which opened in 2006 and includes, in addition to the working horse farm, a thriving agritourism business that brings weddings and conference events on grounds 30 weekends a year.

“The addition of the new reception space and the brewery tasting room embraces agriculture, the equestrian world and the nuances of a resort,” said Nargi, who brings more than 25 years of hospitality experience in resorts and hotels, including leadership roles in high-profile resort kitchens including Keswick, Wintergreen and Kiawah Island Resort, to the project.

Those on hand for the grand opening event at Stable Craft Brewing Co. on a rainy springtime afternoon included Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodlatte, State Del. Steve Landes, the vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee in the Virginia General Assembly, Mary Rae Carter, a special assistant in rural development in the office of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, and Augusta County Board of Supervisors Chair Carolyn Bragg.

Bragg played up the homegrown theme, talking up the importance of small business as the foundation of the local economy.

“At the end of the day, it is these companies, and the hard-working citizens of Augusta County, that enable us to have a strong local economy,” Bragg said. “On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, I extend my sincere gratitude to Craig and Nikki for their continued business presence in our community. First you opened Hermitage Hill Farm and Stables, a premier event venue on a pristine rural landscape, and now we have Stable Craft, a true farm brewery honoring the agricultural background of Augusta County.”

Goodlatte also highlighted the growing small business element to the story of Stable Craft Brewing Co.

“As we recognize National Small Business Week, it is the kind of folks like Craig and Nikki that put the time, effort, money and risk into taking the small business they already have to a new level by creating this great brewery,” Goodlatte said.

“I believe this is just one more extension of the agritourism theme that you have here,” Goodlatte said. “It fits right into the rest of your model for economic growth, and I commend you for being willing to take that risk and grow our economy and create jobs right here in the community.”

Stable Craft Brewing Co. will produce craft beer literally from the ground up, with a hop yard that will begin with the planting of 760 hops, growing to more than 1,500 over the next year, with a head brewer on staff to oversee the production of 16 beers that will showcase Nargi’s long and successful track record exploring flavors.

Food will be also available through Hermitage Hill’s onsite catering operation.

“As opposed to being a hospitality business with a farm thrown in, we have always seen ourselves as a working farm first and foremost,” Nargi said. “The brewery and farm store will allow us to share the farm experience on an even larger scale while providing local beer aficionados with a unique addition to the craft brewery landscape here.”

Carter, who has worked in the rural development arena under the two most recent Virginia governors, first Republican Bob McDonnell, continuing in the administration of Democrat Terry McAuliffe, said Stable Craft Brewing is “the epitome of Virginia-grown, homegrown.”

“You are certainly the new Virginia economy. Growing businesses like this is very important,” Carter said.

Landes noted the growth of the craft beer industry in the past five years, with an estimated economic impact of more than $1 billion and more than 8,900 jobs created in the sector. The last count has more than 140 working craft breweries in operation in the Commonwealth, “and this facility will add Augusta County to the list of places that people come to visit,” Landes said.

“From my standpoint, this business follows what we’re trying to do in Virginia to bring businesses into the Commonwealth and grow the existing businesses that we have, but more importantly to bring people to the area to share in good beer and have a good time in the area as they’re doing it,” Landes said.

Story and video by Chris Graham

Welcome to Ta Stable Craft Brewing

Craig and I would like to welcome you to an authentic farm brewery experience. Our goal, at Ta Stable Craft Brewing, is for you, our guests to visit a true working farm and to enjoy all that farm life has to offer. From tasting that delicious pint of ale to seeing where that delicious ale was grown.

Bringing our vision to life has been 3 years in the making, and we would like to thank all those who helped bring this vision to a reality. Special shout outs go to Chris Cook of the Farm Bureau for educating us on so many levels throughout this process, Delegate Steve Landes for helping pave the way; to the local Credit Union, for believing in our vision; Dave Kaschel, our farrier, who designed the beautiful chandelier hanging in the tasting room; Scotty Sipe for sending us great crews to help with portions of construction; Scott Moffett for all the beautiful stone fireplaces that he helped construct and lastly we’d like to thank our neighbors, Jim and Janet Bevins for being there when we needed you.

We have a wonderful crew thus far and would like to introduce them –

Ray Crook was our first hire and a natural selection during the preliminary stages of construction. His carpentry and landscape knowledge along with working long hours made the renovation possible and we’d like to recognize and thank him for his undire dedication.


Christopher Fann is our Head Brewmaster and comes to us from Brothers Brewing in Harrisonburg. We can’t wait for you to sample his tasty beers on tap. Chris has developed an array of 16 beers that are suited to different palates. Chris has put in a lot of long hours getting our equipment up and running and has been a great addition to our core team here at Stable Craft.

Lastly, a special shout to our children, Jack and Emma, who put up with the long hours and adapting to have their parents busy and in construction mode. We know it hasn’t been ideal or easy but they have been great.

As we continue to grow, we look forward to bringing on new staff and adding to our vision at Stable Craft Brewing. Thanks to all who have helped bring this farm brewery to the area.

We welcome you.

Tales of Construction

Our tale starts 2 years ago, with formulation of VAFB grant and working with several government organizations to create a viable business plan to secure financing. Once this was in place we began on the restructuring of our entrance and restoration of the barn to accommodate the needs of our new business.

Craig and Ray handled all the heavy lifting for most of this project, with the help of contractors here and there.

They worked around our scheduled weddings of last year with complete dedication to our clients and brides ensuring no construction was visible.  They also had to harvest our hops in between demolition.  This all began with moving all the driveways on our farm to allow room for new traffic patterns and accommodate tour buses and deliveries. (this by the way, made morning commutes super fun during the dark winter months).

Next, they tackled the demolition of the interior space of ten stalls in the stable. We have employed the use of cranes to move existing buildings and granaries to allow for expansion of the brewing facility and new tasting room additions.


Concrete trucks and dump trucks were in and out of Hermitage Hill for nearly two months creating the new foundation setting the stage to showcase this incredible renovation.

A unique building design was decided considering weather, deliveries and most importantly a fantastic customer experience. 

Where horses once lived, there is not one bad seat in the house!  Fireplaces at table level so everyone in the room can enjoy, massive glass windows that invite your eye to the rolling farm lands and magnificent views of the Blue Ridge mountains.  The interior of the stable was improved with more fireplaces, air conditioned center aisle which transformed that space to a true four season event space.  The stable was no exception in all the construction, we renovated every stall.  New stall grills so horses can watch our guests, stall mats and insulated waterers, gorgeous wooden barn doors with huge windows and the coolest lighting extending the entire length of the barn.  The renovation is so beautiful, most of brides are choosing the stable as a unique ceremony location.

The stable barn is 288 feet long, we have carefully designed the event venue as an exclusive private space and still maintain a working stable in just over half of this incredible barn. Every horse at our farm is spoiled with dedicated barns in every paddock so we only bring horses to the stable for events which creates the ultimate experience for both visitors and horses.

The construction grinded forward for months with anticipation of our brewery tanks being delivered and the race against the clock pushed us to work harder, longer hours and sometimes seven days a week.  We embraced our location with the addition of black iron stall dividers, carriage lighting, barn fans, tin ceilings and tons of character filled wood work and beams.  Reclaimed stall oak and hickory wood details our tasting room bar, true stall dividers in our restrooms complete with horseshoe handles are just a few of the amazing details found in every portion of this renovation.

The exterior of the barn has been sided with inviting cedar wood shakes while the industrial barn sits quietly disguised before you amongst a grove of spruce trees.

Detail after detail played into every decision.  Designing a facility that lives amongst a farming community was especially challenging and we hope you will visit Stable Craft Brewing to experience this one of a kind farm.

Ta Stable Craft Brewing to open destination brewery, farm store

Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables, one of the Shenandoah Valley’s most unique and popular wedding and event venues, is about to add a brand new dimension to its operations by opening a destination brewery and farm store, Ta Stable Craft Brewing.

Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables, located in Waynesboro, is set to open a craft brewery in late 2015, said owner Craig Nargi. Nargi is a longtime fixture on the local business and hospitality scenes and an agritourism leader who has led important lobbying efforts on the local, regional and state levels. His 20-years-plus of hospitality experience is highlighted by leadership roles in high-profile resort kitchens including Keswick, Wintergreen and Kiawah Island Resort.

Craig and Nikki Nargi have operated Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables, a working horse farm and event venue, since 2006. The new brewery and farm shop, he said, represents a longtime dream for the couple to bring together the culinary and hospitality worlds with their tireless commitment to preserve and celebrate the region’s agricultural riches. “We are excited to bring a first-class, authentic farm brewery to the Shenandoah Valley,” Nargi said.


The agrarian culture is at the heart of all that happens at Hermitage Hill. “As opposed to being a hospitality business with a farm thrown in, we have always seen ourselves as a working farm first and foremost,” Nargi said. “We pride ourselves on the ability to share not only our gorgeous farm property, but the sights, sounds, rhythms, and traditions that go into operating it on a day-to-day basis. The brewery and farm store will allow us to do this on an even larger scale while providing local beer aficionados with a unique addition to the craft brewery landscape here.”

In addition, according to Amanda Glover, Director of Economic Development for Augusta County, the new brewery will have an important economic impact on the community. “Craig Nargi has been a leader in our region’s important agritourism efforts for years, and has proven himself to be a creative and dedicated partner in the effort to enhance business here,” Glover said. “We could not be more excited about this project, which will not only bring jobs to the area, but will draw significant numbers of area residents and tourists to explore and appreciate all that the Shenandoah Valley has to offer.”

The new brewery will offer between 10-12 craft beers that will showcase Nargi’s long and successful track record exploring flavors. Food will be also available through Hermitage Hill’s onsite catering operation.

As he has throughout his career, Nargi said he will put green practices at the heart of Hermitage Hill’s expanded brewery and farm store operation. Hermitage Hill has already doubled it hop production in its first year of growing, thanks to successes related to its growing medium, greenhouse nurturing and yard management. A recently-added second hop yard will enable the property to increase production to up to 1,500 plants. Thanks in part to a partnership with the James Madison University Integrated Science Department, the property has been able to greatly increase the strength of its plants, and has plans to add a hop harvester machine that will allow it to offer processing to other local growers.

The brewery’s spent grain will be fed to the farm’s cows, which are raised and managed under strict USDA guidelines. Eggs from the property will be found in the farm shop offering as well as in foods it serves. Fruits, herbs and vegetables grown on the property will add flavor to everything from gourmet burgers, farm pizzas and more. Those same plantings will also serve to enhance the landscape to create new venues for formal and informal gatherings. “For instance,” he said, “we envision that our peach trees will develop into a grove that will become a perfect place for a wedding ceremony, or just a great place to sit back, relax, and enjoy our beers.”

Additional sustainable practices will include rain water collection and utilizing bio char waste from the farm’s barn to making full use of compost excess from receptions and events on the property.

“We live in a world where rustic is trendy,” Nargi said, “and where the word ‘farm’ is thrown around maybe a little bit more than it should be. What this results in sometimes are places that don’t properly reflect the agrarian culture that is such an important part of life in our region. Our brewery and market will help us to put these traditions first, both in our practices and in our ability to share them with everyone who comes through our doors. “

Craig Nargi’s hospitality career includes award-winning stints at Kiawah Island Resort, Wintergreen Resort, Glenmore Country Club and Stokely Hospitality in positions including Executive Chef, Executive Sous Chef and Food and Beverage Director. He opened Mossy Creek and Mossy Creek Catering in 1997, which grew to include two restaurants, seven catering trucks and 75 employees traveling to events throughout Virginia and beyond. Nikki Nargi is an accomplished graphic designer with a deep equestrian background who lends vast knowledge and experience to what has become one of the region’s premier horse farms.

The new consumer outlets on the property will allow Nargi and the Hermitage Hill staff to share their green practices with the public through special tours. “We would love for people to leave here with not just a positive hospitality and culinary experience,” he said, “but also with a greater understanding of what we are trying to accomplish, and maybe ideas on ways they can make a difference when it comes to sustainable living.”

Plans for the accompanying farm store, Nargi said, include selling beer, hops, Hermitage Hill-themed promotional items and horse and wedding-related products and merchandise.

“Very few people have the opportunity to create their dream business,” Nargi said, “to work and live on a stunning piece of property surrounded by mountain views all around, and to spend quality time with your family surrounding you in the effort. Everything about what we are doing here is designed to be in this for the long haul, to serve the members of this community while shining a deserved spotlight on our region as a whole.”

For more information on Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables, visit