A southern guy with a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains met a top international cider maker from New Zealand. It doesn’t get much more southern than that…
John Washburn loves farms! From his childhood in Virginia and North Carolina, John has lived on and owned farms in both states. The valley around this farm that he bought in the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1986 has become known as the “Brew Ridge Trail” because of its microbreweries and wineries. Given the excellent apples and colonial heritage of hard cider in the area, John imagined a cidery would be an excellent way to bridge the gap between wine connoisseur and beer enthusiast. So, he sought advice from the top international cider-making expert, Brian Shanks.
Brian Shanks loves cider! He created the first hard cider company in New Zealand back in the 1980’s where he developed specialized ways to improve the quality and consistency of cider blends. Over the years his ciders kept winning awards. When one of the world’s largest cider making companies in Great Britain asked him to be their Head of Innovation, Brian went on to lead their cider making team and streamline their operation. He has helped in the development of cideries in the United States, China, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
The friendship that John and Brian formed led to a partnership with a BOLD vision to ROCK a world-class cider. Now they are making hard cider and history.
We opened our tasting room in June 2012 and started our operation with two small barns. In August of 2014, we moved into our cider barn atop mount Bold Rock overlooking the Rockfish River. With the gorgeous mountain views, it is a great place to “Drink in the scenery!”