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Hardywood to Distribute Throughout North Carolina with Tryon Distributing

Richmond, VA, March 23, 2023 Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Virginia’s leading craft brewer, is excited to announce its partnership with Tryon Distributing out of Charlotte, North Carolina. Later this month, the newly signed deal will enable statewide distribution of Hardywood’s award winning beers throughout North Carolina, joining the fine portfolio of beer and wine offered by Tryon Distributing. 

Started in 2011, Hardywood has grown steadily across the Commonwealth since. Now the market leader among Virginia’s celebrated craft brewers, The Wall Street Journal declared that Hardywood is “inventing Southern beer, one batch at a time.” Hardywood rose to national acclaim after it conceptualized the Original Gingerbread Stout in 2011, using locally sourced honey and ginger, and went on to earn a World Beer Cup Medal, a 100 Rating by BeerAdvocate Magazine, and numerous other recognitions and awards shortly after. Today, Hardywood brews a wide range of award winning ales and lagers, it prides itself on being the first renewably powered brewery in the south, with 100% of electricity coming from wind and solar, and it sources many ingredients from local farms, highlighting its “Brew with Purpose” motto.

Hardywood previously offered limited distribution in the Raleigh-Durham and Triad areas, but will now be available statewide for the first time. Its portfolio includes a lineup of year-round offerings including Richmond Lager, Great Return IPA, and Pils, in kegs, 6-packs of 12 oz stubby bottles and 12-packs of 12 oz cans, as well as two seasonal series: the Virginia Roots Series, in kegs and 4-packs of 16 oz cans, highlighting gourmet, locally grown ingredients, and the Barrel Series, in kegs and 4-packs of 12 oz stubby bottles, featuring a decadent lineup of beers aged in bourbon or rum barrels. New to the market is Sheep Mullet, a 9% ABV Juicy DIPA available in 19.2oz cans and 6-packs of 12 oz cans. Tryon will also have access to occasional limited release “Fresh Drops” from Hardywood. 

Hardywood’s North Carolina roots run deep. After co-founders, lifelong friends Eric McKay and Patrick Murtaugh,  were introduced to hand crafted beer on a sheep farm in Australia (known at the time as “Hardywood Park”) in 2002, McKay returned from study abroad to Davidson College, where he apprenticed at a brewery in Mooresville, managed Davidson’s campus bar, discreetly fermented his first batches of homebrew in his dorm, and wrote his Economics thesis on the history of America’s brewing industry. Around the same time, Hardywood’s president, Kate Lee, was discovering her passion for fermentation while studying Food Science at NC State. 

“Finding a North Carolina distributor that matches our core values is important to us,” said CEO and Co-Founder Eric McKay, adding “Tryon’s dedication to craft, quality, and sustainability  was very appealing to us, as was the ability to offer Hardywood statewide.” Hardywood will join other celebrated craft brewers in Tryon’s portfolio including Allagash, Victory, Founders, Stone, Deschutes, Fullsteam, Firestone Walker, Avery, Flying Dog, Duvel, and Chimay, among others. 

“When I think of craft beer in Virginia, I think of Hardywood. Their commitment to their community, their craft, and their consumer mirrors Tryon’s own commitments and values. To share a purpose wholly with a partner is the foundation for long term success and I cannot wait to share that success with the craft beer consumers of North Carolina,” said Elledge Davis, Tryon’s Director of Beer.

Hardywood beer will initially be available in the Raleigh-Durham and Triad regions, with statewide distribution by late-April. Hardywood beers will soon be shipping to Tryon’s warehouses in Durham and Charlotte, where they will be climate controlled and kept fresh, ready to be delivered to better beer retailers across North Carolina.


Virginia’s largest craft brewer, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s mission is to brew with purpose. This charge comes alive in thoughtfully innovative recipes, a commitment to using local ingredients, and an obsession over quality. Beers range in style from traditional to experimental, but there’s a story behind each one. Its top-selling beers include Richmond Lager, Great Return IPA, and the seasonal Gingerbread Stout. Hardywood operates a pilot brewery and taproom with a pizza kitchen in greater Scott’s Addition in the City of Richmond, while it’s primary production facility is located on a 24-acre destination brewery campus overlooking Tuckahoe Creek in West Creek, just west of Richmond, which hosts frequent festivals, and operates a taproom with regular food trucks, live music, bocce courts, and a disc golf course. Visit hardywood.com for more information on upcoming events and releases, and job openings. 


Tryon Distributing was founded in 1985 by Brad Johnston and Steve Hedberg, specializing in fine wine and imported beer in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2005, Johnston was very involved in lobbying to raise the 6% ABV cap on beer to 15% during the  “Pop the Cap” movement. Tryon has since grown their craft beer portfolio to almost half of their business, and in 2018, Tryon was named Craft Wholesaler of the Year by the American Brewers Association. In 2021, Johnston was accepted to be knighted by  the Belgian Brewers Guild for his efforts in establishing Belgian beer in North Carolina. The official knighting ceremony will take place soon. 

Today, Tryon has become a statewide company with two main distribution centers and almost 300 employees. The company is proud to be an independent, family-owned, and operated wholesale distributor. Johnston currently serves as Tryon’s CEO, while his son Ed serves as Tryon’s President. 




Tryon Distributing logo- white corkscrew on a maroon background