Be Bold. Tread Lightly. Make It Happen.
Yielding some of the finest apples in the world, the orchards nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina form the foundation of our cider varieties and ensure a crisp, fresh and full-bodied taste for each and every one of our hand-crafted hard cider varieties
Bold Rock Hard Cider was founded in Nellysford, Virginia in June of 2012 by a dreamer and brand visionary, John Washburn, and a world-renowned cider expert, Brian Shanks. The unlikely pair – John a Southern gentlemen and Brian a New Zealander from the Southern hemisphere – formed a dynamic team intent on upending the US cider industry.
Over a decade has passed since the first bottle of Bold Rock rolled down the production line but we’re still fueled by the same principles that initially made Bold Rock a household name – high quality apples, attention to detail, a commitment to innovation, a respect for the land and the humility to know we’ve still got plenty of work left to do.
Join Bold Rock in celebrating the bounty of the Blue Ridge at one of our two Cidery & Taproom locations – the original in Nellysford, VA and our second home in Mills River, NC – or at one of our standalone taprooms at Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville, VA and in Downtown Asheville, NC. Bold Rock is also featured at our collaboration taproom in Charlotte, NC – Brewers at 4001 Yancey.
OVER THE YEARS
John Washburn, a farm owner in Virginia, reaches out to Brian Shanks, an award-winning and world renowned Cidermaker in New Zealand, to see if Brian will come to the United States to consider founding a craft cider business nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A bold dream and fast friendship is born!
Bold Rock’s first cider barn was erected in the shadows of the Blue Ridge near Nellysford, VA and along a popular craft beverage corridor, Nelson 151. John & Brian were driven by humble visions of a high-quality product crafted using the very best in locally sourced apples.
Brian carefully produced our very first batch of Bold Rock Hard Cider and the Virginia Apple Granny-Smith style was born.
The first bottle of Bold Rock rolls off the production line and into the hands of thirsty Bold Rockers and word quickly spreads across Central Virginia about the exciting new cidery with incredibly refreshing and easy-drinking cider.
Bold Rock celebrates 1 year of hard cider production with expectations far surpassed. Our humble projections were blown out of the water with nearly 50,000 cases of locally crafted cider enjoyed throughout Virginia.
Bold Rock celebrates 1 year of hard cider production. We thought we would sell 8,000 cases in year 1 the public thought otherwise – we closed the year with 48,000 cases enjoyed throughout Virginia.
Bold Rock’s new Cider Barn, affectionately known as the ‘Chapel of Apple’, opens just an apple’s throw away from our original facility on the same property in Nellysford, VA. The new state-of-the-art Cider Barn features 600 reclaimed oak beams and provides significantly increased production capacity, an expansive new taproom, and a beautiful patio overlooking the Rockfish River where guests can ‘Drink in the Scenery’.
Continuous increases in Bold Rock demand require even more production capacity. The decision is made to build a new facility in Mills River, NC where Bold Rock will use locally sourced Henderson County apples to craft core varieties like Apple and Draft, with a Carolina spin.
Bold Rock opens a new taproom at Carter Mountain Orchard just outside of Charlottesville, VA and neighboring Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The taproom offers the apple-to-glass experience of picking fresh apples from Carter Mountain Orchard and then drinking them in cider form as you take in incredible views and gorgeous sunsets atop Carter Mountain.
Our new Taproom & Cidery in Mills River, NC opens to a warm reception from local Henderson County residents and Bold Rock officially now has 2 homes, one in Central Virginia and one in Western North Carolina. Bold Rock Mills River supports significant increases in production and becomes a vital part of expanding Bold Rock availability throughout the Southeast including South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
Bold Rock celebrated 5 years in June 2017 with distribution now in 10 states and over 100 awards and counting. Bold Rock is now the largest independently owned cidery in the United States with production exceeding 800,000 cases.
Bold Rock’s humble original cider barn in Nellysford is transformed into the new Barrel Barn with an innovation focus on small batch cider varieties and featuring an intimate taproom space.
Bold Rock’s Seasonal Cider selections like Blood Orange, Rosé and Blackberry find ‘Favor in Flavor’ with fruity infusions and fun concepts borrowed from the wine world. Bold Rock Blackberry becomes the best-selling Seasonal to-date, surpassing 70,000 cases in Summer 2018.
Bold Rock diversifies into the rapidly expanding ready-to-drink canned cocktail market with the launch of the Bold Fashioned, crafted from premium American whiskey, and the Copper Mug Mule, crafted with American vodka.
Bold Rock joins the Artisanal Brewing Ventures family of brands which allows access to additional resources to reinvest into our facilities, additional distribution territory to expand our reach and a unified sales team of 80+ to allow for better customer service!
Bold Rock continues innovating across alc-bev categories with the launch of Hard Tea crafted with real tea and naturally sweetened Hard Lemonade. Both new lines of Bold Rock products begin shipping up and down the East Coast with distribution now in 20 states including Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Bold Rock opens a new taproom in the heart of Asheville, NC on Lexington Avenue, perfectly positioned for enjoyment by both locals and tourists and featuring a full menu of tasty culinary offerings and of course plenty of hard cider!
Bold Rock launches a new line of Craft Spirits made with real vodka, whiskey and bourbon including the flagship – Cinnamon Apple Whiskey. The line of spirits are exclusively available at the Barrel Barn in Nellysford, which is rechristened as the Bold Rock Distillery!
A true milestone is reached – Bold Rock celebrated 10 years in business on June 25, 2022 with a celebration at both the Nellysford and Mills River Cidery locations. Now the largest regional craft cider in the United States, Bold Rock has not lost sight on where we came from and is committed to the same quality and great taste that initially made us a household name.
Known for our easy-drinking and sessionable cider varieties, Bold Rock dives into a new segment of craft cider with Imperial Apple, infused with the same great easy-drinking approach but with an 8.2% ABV jolt of BOLD for next level refreshment!