(Alex and Chrissy Bergren have opened a Voodoo Brewing location in Virginia Beach. Photo by Jim Roberts.)

By Jim Roberts


Voodoo Brewing Co., the newest entry into Hampton Roads’ beer scene, opened on January 13 in Virginia Beach. It’s a locally owned and operated franchise of Voodoo Brewing in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Here are 10 things to know before venturing in.


The owners, Alex and Chrissy Bergen, are Virginia Beach natives and retired teachers.

“We both reached a point in our educational careers where we were ready to retire,” Alex told Veer Magazine. “Especially following COVID—we both felt we wanted to make a change. … In the meantime, we started getting into craft beer.”


Around 2010—after discovering Virginia breweries like Blue Mountain, Devils Backbone and Wild Wolf—they started adding craft breweries to their travels.

“We went to Wilmington, New Orleans, Asheville,” Alex said. “Wherever we went, we were finding the breweries, and what we discovered is that we got a deeper sense of the places that we were visiting. … Somewhere along the way, we started having ‘what if’ conversations.”


They almost bought a brewery in Williamsburg.

“Ultimately, I didn’t want to make the commute to Williamsburg every day,” Alex said. “I didn’t want to just own a brewery—I wanted to work in one. I wanted to be part of the service—bringing it to people and talking about beer because I’ve learned a lot in the process.”


Chrissy is the one who discovered the franchise opportunity with Voodoo Brewing.

“It gave us an opportunity to get into the craft beer space without having to know how to brew or have the capital to be able to buy the equipment necessary to brew up to scale,” Alex said. “We also just like their vibe. We thought, ‘This is something we want to bring to Virginia Beach.’”


They looked at about 30 locations before settling on Pembroke Square.

“We felt like this space offered a lot of things,” Alex said. “It offered us the ability to be very central. It offered us the ability to access both a business crowd and a residential crowd—and in a high-traffic area that also had its own parking.”


Since the beer is brewed in Pennsylvania, the Bergrens are focused on food and service.

“We’ve got terrific beer, and we’ve got great food,” Alex said. “We wanted to make sure we focused on service as well. We want them to discover beer the way we discovered beer, and enjoy it, and be able to talk about it, and know how to pair it with different things, and try new things, and just discover all the different things that beer can be.”


The secret ingredient in the kitchen is the chef, Shawn Brown.

“He’s pretty doggone good at what he does,” Alex said. “He’s been in the business for 30 years. … Our menu looks a lot different than a lot of other Voodoos, and that’s because of Shawn. He’s been terrific. He’s just doing a lot of really good things.”


The story behind the Voodoo” name is a mystery.

“We didn’t name the brewery,” Voodoo CEO Matteo Rachocki told the Restaurant Technology Guys podcast in December. “It was named that when we took it over in 2012. But I’ve never—and I will never say where the name came from. It adds a lot to the mysticism behind the brand. If you want to Google where the name came from, there’s like six or seven different stories, and they’re all pretty good. And there’s new ones that pop up out of nowhere. It’s just been a mystery behind the brand—no one knows what name came from.”


The Hampton Roads beer community has been super supportive.

“We have found that everybody’s interested in helping everybody to be successful because it makes all of us more successful,” Alex said. “One of our concerns was: Since we don’t brew on site, would we be able to find our fit in the brewery community in Virginia Beach and Norfolk? And the relationship piece has been critical. In fact, one of them even told us if we had come in and just been like, ‘Hey, we’re here with better beer,’ it would’ve been a totally different reception. But our approach was: Make connections, build relationships. And it has been awesome.”


Chrissy says business so far has exceeded their expectations.

“It was quite a journey to get here,” she said. “There were times when we were like, ‘This isn’t gonna happen’ or ‘What did we get ourselves into?’ But it was just amazing watching the space materialize—what we envisioned and then have it become what it is now. … Fridays and Saturdays, we’re killing it so far. I hope we can continue the momentum. I hope we can get more people to come out and check us out.”


Voodoo Brewing is located in the Pembroke Square shopping center (300 Constitution Drive, Suite 109) behind Diamonds Direct. It is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Find them at Voodoo Brewing Co. – Virginia Beach on Facebook and @voodoovirginiabeach on Instagram.