Va. Church Opposes Opening of Brewery

A church located in Augusta County, Va., has declared its opposition to the creation of a commercial brewery less than 100 feet from their building.

Members of Mount Bethel Baptist Church voiced their objections Thursday at a meeting of the Augusta County Board of Zoning Appeals. They stated that they oppose the brewery over the belief that its close proximity to their church would make it harder for them to encourage youth to abstain from alcohol.

In an interview with The Christian Post, John Wilkinson, zoning administrator for Augusta County, explained that the brewery “was a one-man operation” on a “six-acre property.”

Wilkinson said that the proposal to build the brewery was tabled until the next meeting in part so that the owner could assess alternative locations for the brewery on his property.

“It was proposed,” said Wilkinson, “moving more towards the center of the six-acre property” so that the brewery would be farther from the church building itself.

This is not the first time a conflict has arisen between a church and a seller of potent potables in Augusta County.

A few years ago, Augusta County had its first winery, Barren Ridge Vineyards, established near St. James Lutheran Church of Fishersville.

The major concern of the congregation was in regards to the issue of noise, given that Barren Ridge intended to have public events at their location.

According to Wilkinson, the church and the winery got together and agreed to cooperate on coordinating events so as to not interfere with each other.

Brad Richardson, youth pastor at nearby Crossroads Baptist Church, told The Christian Post that he could understand the opposition Mount Bethel would have regarding the brewery.

“With it being built less than 100 feet, that’s a little in your face,” said Richardson.

Richardson also mentioned how Crossroads has had its share of buildings constructed nearby their sanctuary, mainly from land they once owned that they sold off.

Richardson said that his church makes sure that certain things cannot be built by purchasers of the land they sold such as a brewery.

“I’m sure if it happened on our property, we would be protesting as well,” said Richardson, who explained that his congregation is opposed to alcohol even as a social drink.

“I can speak on behalf of our church that we are very much opposed to drinking and alcohol.”

The matter over the brewery near Mount Bethel Baptist Church will likely be addressed at the Jan. 8 meeting of the Augusta County Board of Zoning Appeals.

Mount Bethel Baptist Church could not be reached for comment.

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