Interview with Eric Tennant of Benchtop Craft Brewing

Interview with Eric Tennant of Benchtop Craft Brewing

Benchtop Craft Brewing wins the 2023 VCBG Cup Competition

We are thrilled to share this interview with Eric Tennant of Benchtop Craft Brewing.

Eric is the talented head brewer and founder who took home the prestigious 2023 Virginia Craft Beer Cup Competition award.

Recently, we had the pleasure of interviewing Eric about his remarkable achievement and the impact it has had on Benchtop Craft Brewing. He shared his exhilarating experience of winning the Cup, the significance it holds for Benchtop Craft Brewing, and offered valuable insights and encouragement for fellow brewers considering entering the competition.

Continue reading our conversation with one of Virginia’s finest brewers. Eric Tennant.


VCBG: What was your initial reaction when Benchtop Craft Brewing was announced as the winner of the 2023 VCBG Cup Competition?
Eric: We were absolutely thrilled!
VCBG: Can you share your thoughts on the overall experience of participating in the VCBG Cup Competition? What stood out to you the most?
Eric: We never know exactly what to expect.  To be honest, the beer we thought we had the best chance to win with didn’t even medal. The thing that continually stands out is that there always seems to be quite a few new medalists each year, which is indicative of the overall quality of beer being made here in Virginia.
VCBG: Since winning the competition, have there been any significant changes or outcomes for Benchtop Craft Brewing? How has the win impacted your brewery?
Eric: We haven’t really changed anything since winning.  We work hard to the make the best beer we can ALL the time.  It is nice to receive some recognition for this passion and hard work.  We did see some increased interest in the best in show beer immediately following the cup win.
VCBG: What advice or encouragement would you give to other brewers considering entering the VCBG Cup Competition? What can they gain from the experience?
Eric: I would say it is generally best to enter beers that you are super proud of AND ideally that you intend to make regularly.
VCBG: What are your future goals for Benchtop Craft Brewing? Are there any exciting projects or new beers that fans can look forward to?
Eric: We hope to continue to grow our brand throughout the state and continue to offer up new and innovative options in our two tap rooms in Norfolk and Richmond.
We have a new series of German lagers dropping this summer that we are really excited about.  Our first such beer in this series is called “PILSNERS ARE LAGERS.”  
We recently launched our newest non-alcoholic offering.  It is called Hopcha and it is a sparkling hop tea with green tea and hops.  Our newest iteration also contains reishi and lions mane mushrooms that contain adaptogens to help with stress relief.  It is available in cans at both of our locations.
VCBG: Can you tell us a bit about your personal journey as a brewer? What inspired you to start Benchtop Craft Brewing, and what drives your passion for craft beer?
Eric: I came to the brewing industry with 15 plus years of experience as a food scientist in the field of innovation and product development.  My goal has always been to bring the same passion for innovation and quality to the beer industry.  Our two taprooms provide an outlet to share our creations and that is quite rewarding.
The crew at Benchtop Craft Brewing with their 2023 Cup Trophy for Crimson Gaze.
The crew at Benchtop Craft Brewing with their 2023 Cup Trophy for Crimson Gaze.

A picture tells a story, don’t it!

Read more about the competition here. The judging for this year’s competition has just wrapped up and we have big plans for the 2024 VCBG Cup Competition Awards Gala!
Visit our event page to learn more and register. We’ve expanded invitations to include our Homebrewer and Associate members.