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The Gift of Great Beer

In the Beginning

In the mid-90’s, Master Brewer Mark Thompson returned to his native Virginia from Portland, OR, having learned two things: First, that the craft of artisanal brewing was one part science and one part art; and second, that making delicious beer was a lot cooler than anything he had ever done as a biology student. After several years of apprenticing with other master brewers, Mark was ready to begin crafting beer using his own recipes.

Putting Down Roots

He found the perfect spot in Charlottesville, VA – a historic storefront on Main Street that was once home to the state of Virginia’s first craft brewing operation. In September 1999, Mark re-opened the doors and introduced the “Starr Hill” Brewery. Named after the local neighborhood, the brewery shared its historic building with the legendary Starr Hill Music Hall, and it was there that Mark's delicious craft beers became a favorite to visiting beer lovers, musicians, and music fans from around the world. Nineteen prestigious awards later, Mark’s brews continue to be a hit at beer and music festivals nationwide.

Movin’ On Up

In 2005, in response to the growing demand, Mark moved from this small brewing operation to a larger brewing facility several miles outside of town, nestled in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Starr Hill's house and seasonal brews are now enjoyed in restaurants and music clubs throughout the Mid Atlantic and Southeast, and are also available at many grocery and convenience stores in the region.

Our Gift to You

Mark is proud of the awards his microbrews have earned, and the experts agree that he is among the best craft brewers in the country. But at the end of the day, what still matters most to Mark and his team of brewers at Starr Hill is giving people the gift of great beer.