I was finally able to make the trip to Blue Lab today during their normal business hours. It must have been good timing because I walked in the door and was immediately introduced to Tom Lovell, one of the two owners of the craft brewery. I opened the conversation with questions about their business model specifically asking who they sell to and how they distribute. Tom told me that Blue Lab is the quintessential craft brewery only selling beer by the keg, pint, or growler. There are 2-5 restaurants that carry Blue Lab, all of which are located in Rockbridge County. Since Virginia follows a three-tier system in alcohol sales with Blue Lab being the first tier, the distributor being the second tier, and the restaurant being the third tier, Blue Lab must go through a distributor to sell their beer in local restaurants. These restaurants must buy kegs of Blue Lab beer from Blue Lab’s distributor, Rock Beverage. Other than restaurants buying their beer from the distributor, all of Blue Lab’s sales come from within the Blue Lab brewery either by pint or growler. Therefore, Blue Lab’s business model heavily relies on the local community to visit and buy beer directly from the brewery. Tom mentioned that Blue Lab has an advantage over other craft breweries of similar size in that the owner is a W&L biology professor. In saying this, he is meticulous about the ingredients and temperature, but most of all he is extremely knowledgable about the process from a chemistry and biological standpoint. Enough so that Tom insured me that Blue Lab has never harvested a bad batch since their doors opened.