Scott and Cyndi Hoffman spent much of their lives along the paradisaical coastlines of Florida and Oahu, Hawaii before landing in Northern Virginia in 2011. Their beachside assignments, courtesy of the United States Army, introduced them to an array of tropical flavors that they have since incorporated into Northern Virginia’s abounding craft beverage scene. Determined to stand out from other breweries in the Fairfax area, the Hoffmans established Ono Brewing Company in September 2017.
Cyndi explains that she and her husband have always shared an entrepreneurial spirit and pursued careers that aligned them perfectly with the brewing industry. Scott practiced homebrewing for over 20 years and has an extensive background in engineering. Cyndi, on the other hand, brings the expertise of a biology teacher to the brewhouse.
“We saw a need here in Fairfax for breweries,” explains Cyndi. “We kept having to go to Loudoun County for [them]. When we started on the brewery we thought, ‘What’s going to set our brewery apart from all the other mini breweries in the local community?’ So we decided on the tropical vibe, something different.”
While the tropical roots stem from the Hoffmans’ military tours, they also pay homage to Cyndi’s Hawaiian ancestry. Her mother was born and raised on Oahu, so sharing the aloha spirit with the mainland is at the forefront of Ono Brewing’s mission.
In Hawaiian, ‘ono’ means delicious, and that’s exactly the type of beers the Hoffmans are pouring in their island-style taproom. Ono Brewing incorporates sugary pineapple, creamy coconut, fresh mango and other beachy flavors into their one-of-a-kind brews. Popular Ono picks include the mango wheat ale, Manako, a coconut brown labeled Island Time and the new Tsunami, a smash DIPA brewed with hops from Virginia’s very own Hoppy Trails Farm in Scottsville. In addition to tropically inspired brews, they also brew a variety of traditional beers including an award-winning Irish stout and Helles lager. Cyndi also hinted at a holiday spiced ale hitting the taps this fall.
Another distinguishing factor of Ono Brewing is its self-serve taproom. The Hoffmans swapped traditional beertenders for an automated beer wall that permits Ono patrons to taste and pour at leisure. Cyndi explains that customers are given a beer card that activates the taps on the beer wall, allowing them to view beer details, pouring options and their running tab. “Our customers really love the system and it frees up our tasting room attendants to mingle with guests,” explains Cyndi.
Accompanying the dozen beers on tap is the equally ono eatery, Odd BBQ. “We tried the food truck thing, we tried letting our customers bring their own food, but ultimately realized the need to provide a quality, consistent food product that customers could enjoy while [drinking] our beers,” says Cyndi.
Unfamiliar with the restaurant industry, the Hoffmans left the cooking to the pros and leased out a space to Odd BBQ. The brewery-barbecue duo has since worked together to create authentic and interpretive Hawaiian dishes including Korean barbecue with kimchee, the beloved kalua pork plate, a creamy mac salad and an Asian sesame slaw. “It’s a great partnership. Our customers are happy and the food is amazing,” Cyndi says.
Ono has curated an array of other partnerships in the local community through its monthly charity initiative. Cyndi explains that 50 percent of all tips are donated to charities selected by the Hoffmans or suggested by customers. Since launching the initiative in 2017, Ono Brewing has donated over $27,000 to local organizations such as Western Fairfax Christian Ministries, Paws of Honor, Our Military Kids and more. Serving Our Willing Warriors is Ono Brewing’s selected charity for November.
Ono Brewing Company is located at 4520 Daly Drive, Suite 102, Chantilly. To learn more about Ono Brewing Company, its charities and event space options visit OnoBrewCo.com.