Bold Rock Hard Cider has announced plans to begin producing its award-winning craft cider at a new facility in Mills River, N.C., near Asheville, this spring. This marks a significant move in the expansion of the growing regional craft cidery that has steadily increased East Coast distribution and is now offered from Pennsylvania through South Carolina.
Like Bold Rock’s flagship production facility in Virginia, the operation on School House Road in Mills River will make craft cider from locally apples picked at nearby orchards. In North Carolina apples will be sourced from Hendersonville-based Apple Wedge Packers, a fifth-generation family-owned business that has been operating for over 150 years.
Opening in 2012, Bold Rock formed out of the partnership between John Washburn and Brian Shanks. Washburn owned a picturesque piece of farmland in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Central Virginia, and he contacted Shanks to see if the New Zealand native and world-renowned cider expert with more than three decades of experience in the industry would be interested in working his magic with locally picked Virginia apples. The two fast friends have since put together a rapidly growing operation, turning Bold Rock into one of the fastest-growing craft cider companies in the country.
When it came time to plot expansion, Washburn and Shanks found what they needed in the mountains of western North Carolina, a region that offers a perfect extension of what the partners have created up the Blue Ridge chain in Virginia. Washburn has family roots in the area and was excited about bringing business to a place where he spent much of his youth. Upon visiting, Shanks took a bite of a Henderson County apple and quickly realized he’d found some of the best-tasting fruit in the world. With a dedication to working with local growers, the Bold Rock founders decided to come to the source.
“My experience over the years with the production of hard cider around the world has taught me about the importance of access to the very best fruit,” says Shanks. “Finding such a rich resource in Henderson County made this area the perfect fit for Bold Rock’s southern expansion. We really are truly looking forward to crafting, bottling and distributing Bold Rock Hard Cider from this site and becoming a contributing partner of the local economy.”
Bold Rock is schedule to begin production in Mills River in May 2015.
Bold Rock Hard Cider is one of the fastest-growing craft cider companies in the country. A winner of more than 30 awards in the past two years, Bold Rock produces a range of ciders, all made from apples locally grown and handpicked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. As the nation’s largest independently owned cider company, Bold Rock is quickly ramping up distribution throughout the East Coast, now delivering across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast from Pennsylvania through South Carolina. Additional company information can be found at www.boldrock.com.
Thanks to loyal reader Cliff for the heads-up.