NELLYSFORD, VA—Bold Rock Hard Cider has announced the launch of two new flavors of its popular craft cider, Carolina Apple and Carolina Draft. This marks a significant move in the expansion of the fast-growing, Virginia-based craft cidery that has steadily increased East Coast distribution and is now offered from Pennsylvania through North Carolina.
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 on a whim he reached out to Shanks to see if the New Zealand native and world-renowned cider expert would be interested in working his magic with locally picked Virginia apples. The two fast friends have since put together a rapidly growing operation, using state-of-the art equipment that is run by a hard-working staff of 32 local Nelson County employees to produce delicious craft cider that is being enjoyed throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
Washburn and Shanks don’t like to venture too far from the apple trees near home base in Virginia, but as demand for Bold Rock Hard Cider has steadily increased, the partners decided to cross state lines into North Carolina in search of the state’s best apples. They found what they were looking for in the mountains of western North Carolina, recently partnering with Hendersonville-based Apple Wedge Packers & Cider, a fifth generation family-owned business that has been growing apples for over 150 years. Shanks was particularly impressed with the integrity of the longstanding company, and he was eager to use their apples for his cider recipes that were first developed on his family farmland in New Zealand more than three decades ago.
The result is the creation of two new Bold Rock Hard Cider flavors. Similar to Bold Rock’s flagship offerings, Virginia Apple and Virginia Draft, Carolina Apple is a crisp and light craft cider, while Carolina Draft is a more robust yet sessionable variety. Bold Rock creates true craft ciders, completely free of additives, with an efficient process that turns 85 percent of every apple into juice. It gives cider lovers a clean, refreshing taste that holds the character of every apple. “We’re producing cider that is really fresh and reflects the quality of the apple,” says Shanks.
On the heels of the partnership with Apple Wedge Packers & Cider, Bold Rock will soon set up its own operations near the North Carolina apples being used in production. In the spring of 2015 the company will begin making Carolina Apple and Carolina Draft at a new production facility in Asheville, N.C. Future plans include a tasting room and restaurant, similar to the company’s flagship operation in Virginia.