The owner of the Camp Trapezium brewery and Amherst town and business leaders on Thursday celebrated the official grand opening of the new brewery and restaurant.
Waukeshaw Development, Inc., the Petersburg company that purchased the historic Amherst Milling Company structure in 2017, has spent several years repurposing the historic landmark into a facility that sells craft beer and brick-oven pizza. The brewery is located at 140 Union Hill Road in Amherst.
Dave McCormack, president of Waukeshaw, said the restoration has been one of the "craziest," most emotional and beautiful renovations the company has ever done. He referenced the previous owners, the Wydner family, and Bill Wydner, who attended the grand opening celebration and spoke with folks inside the structure he spent countless hours in over the decades.
"This has amazing stories and I want to thank Bill for telling them all to us," McCormack said. "I'm still learning so much. I'm now the guy who has to tell all the stories to the people who come here and that's a serious challenge."
McCormack said he is glad to join a chain of owners of the former mill dating back to the 1800s.
"It's so beautiful," he said of the building's many features. "I'm so happy to be the steward of this thing."
McCormack said he hopes the site becomes a destination and a draw for Amherst County, especially for craft beer and history lovers in the Lynchburg region with its nearby Brew Ridge Trail and Nelson County's Virginia 151 corridor ripe with breweries.
Amherst Mayor Dwayne Tuggle said many town and county residents are excited about coming back to the structure and reliving memories of the old mill in its heyday while enjoying pizza and a beer.
"There's excitement around town," Tuggle said. "They've been talking about it."
Sabrina Kennon, president of the Amherst County Chamber of Commerce, said the opening is a great way to celebrate the repurposing and revitalization of a major local landmark.
Town Manager Sara Carter said one of the highlights in her tenure, which began several months after Waukeshaw bought the old mill four years ago, is observing the rebirth of an iconic structure — one of the last working mills in Virginia.
"We're so glad to see this building maintained and taken to its next place and to be taken care of so well," Carter said. "It's a pleasure and I'm thrilled to see it open."