NEWS RELEASE – June 6, 2024

Goal to boost local food and beverage industry

RICHMOND — Customers will get a taste of Virginia while traveling on the train. The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, Amtrak, and the Center of the Universe Brewing Company in Ashland are partnering to offer a local craft beer, Brewski, onboard Amtrak Virginia trains.

Beginning June 8, Brewski, will be available for purchase in the Café Cars on Northeast Regional service traveling along four corridors from Roanoke, Newport News, Norfolk, and Richmond to Washington, D.C. and continuing to Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston.  A 12-ounce can of Brewski will cost $8.00.

A 5% German-Style Dortmunder pale lager, Brewski debuted at the Center of the Universe in April of 2022.  The Dortmunder style was originally created in Germany around 150 years ago as a lower ABV lager alternative for working class citizens.  This origin story influenced the tagline for the brand, “THE LAGER THAT WORKS AS HARD AS YOU.”

The addition of Brewski to Amtrak Virginia beverage options is the culmination of a two-year effort to offer locally-sourced products on Virginia trains, a key recommendation of the Amtrak Food & Beverage Working Group (FBWG).  A cross-functional team comprised of representatives from Virginia and Washington state, Amtrak employees and unions, as well as rail advocacy groups, the FBWG was created as a part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.

The FBWG called on Amtrak to establish a formal process for states to sell locally-sourced products on their respective state-supported routes.  Virginia is currently serving as a pilot state, implementing those recommendations. The addition of Brewski to the menu aids Virginia in meeting the FBWG goals to cultivate partnerships with local producers, boost the local food and beverage industry, and improve overall customer experience on trains.

“Offering Brewski onboard our Amtrak Virginia trains isn’t just about adding to our beverage menu, it’s about supporting Virginia’s vibrant craft beer industry, a cornerstone of several local economies,” said DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority.  “This partnership allows us to celebrate Virginia’s unique craft beer offerings while supporting the communities we serve and directly injecting revenue into Virginia’s economy.”

“Our food and beverage offerings are essential to the customer experience,” Amtrak Vice President Ray Lang said.  “We are pleased to partner with VPRA and Center of the Universe Brewing Co. to offer something new for people to enjoy while traveling with us.”

“Rail fans and craft beer fans alike have been sipping Brewskis and watching trains at our Downtown Ashland brewery and taproom, Origin Beer Lab, for six years now,” said Chris Ray, Owner of the Center of the Universe Brewing Company.  “Amtrak Virginia passengers can now raise a glass of Brewski as they journey across the state, savoring a taste of Virginia’s rich brewing heritage. This partnership is a welcome boost to the local economy.”

About Virginia Passenger Rail Authority

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority was established in 2020 to promote, sustain, and expand the availability of passenger and commuter rail service in the Commonwealth. VPRA is committed to delivering and expanding its state-supported Amtrak Virginia passenger rail service.  The Commonwealth of Virginia first launched state-supported service in 2009 with one roundtrip between Washington, DC and Lynchburg, VA.  Since that time, the Commonwealth’s service has grown to include eight roundtrips daily with stops at 17 stations along four corridors.  For more information, please visit

About Amtrak®

For 50 years, Amtrak has connected America and transformed transportation by modernizing train travel and building for the future. Amtrak will continue to play an important role in the national transportation network for the next 50 years and beyond by operating a safe, environmentally efficient and fiscally responsible business by providing travelers with an experience that sets a new standard. Book travel, check train status, access your eTicket and more through the Amtrak app. Learn more at and connect with us on XInstagramFacebook and LinkedIn.

About Center of the Universe Brewing Company

Owned by brothers Chris and Phil Ray, the Center of the Universe Brewing Company opened in 2011 in Ashland, Virginia.  Offering a variety of lagers and IPAs, Center of the Universe prides itself on offering sustainable and consistent core products year-round.  In addition to their core craft beers, a monthly seasonal rotates in to keep the selection fresh.  Chris and Phil’s craft beers have been recognized by the Virginia Craft Brewers Cup. For details, please visit