RICHMOND (WRIC) - The craft beer scene here in Central Virginia is exploding and there's a whole new group of beer lovers out there: women.
Craft beer in Richmond is almost overflowing with new kinds and flavors and women are lining up to give it a try.
Local beer enthusiast Annie Tobey has even made it her career to write on all things craft beer.
"Sometimes I go into a restaurant and the server will hand me a wine menu, and I'll say ‘what do you have on tap?' and they're kind of surprised," she says.
Tobey says only 20 percent of women drink beer, but at the same time, women make up 37 percent of the craft beer community.
"Women are coming to realize - and so are men - that there's a lot more to beer than just what we used to think of."
Amy Kramer took it a step further forming the Richmond Beer Lovers group, which now has more than a thousand members including a lot of women. The group tours different breweries and festivals.
"There are some events sometimes where we have more women than men at our events," she says. "I think it's great that women are learning that beer can have as much flavor as wine."
Richmond breweries have several options of beer with flavors that can be sweet, sour and even chocolatey.
"If you say you don't like beer, but all you've tried Bud Light, Coors Light, Bud, all of those. Try some of these others. Go to a place that has a diversity of beer."
Options for local breweries continue to grow.
Isley Brewing Company is Richmond's newest brewery. They've been opened since October and say business has been very good. But by this time next year, there could be several more breweries moving into the area.
Brewery manager Aaron Thackery says Richmond is becoming one of the best beer cities in the entire country.
"You talk about places like Portland, Oregon and Ashland, North Carolina, and I think Richmond, Virginia is very quickly going to be next in that conversation."
And it's not just the taste. Women and men are on board with the local beer scene because it's great for Richmond's economy.
"You're supporting a local business. And with all the people it employs, it's just a great way to support your community and have fun at the same time."
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond