Bold Beginnings

The story of Bold Rock Hard Cider starts with an unlikely partnership between two guys from different sides of the world. These two salt-of-the-earth characters – one a southern gentlemen, the other an affable bloke – founded Bold Rock in June of 2012 and since that time it has become the nation’s largest independently-owned cider company.

June 2010

In 2010, John Washburn, a farm owner in Virginia, called up Brian Shanks, an award winning New Zealand cider maker, and asked him to come see if they could make cider together. A fast friendship was born!

June 2011

We built our first cider barn in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Nellysford, VA with humble visions of a high quality product crafted using the very best in locally sourced apples.

April 2012

Brian carefully produced our very first batch of Bold Rock Hard Cider and the Virginia Apple Granny-Smith style was born.

June 2012

The first bottled Bold Rock for sale rolled off of the production line, ready to be enjoyed by folks throughout Central Virginia.

June 2013

Bold Rock breaks new ground with the announcement of a grand Cider Barn perched overlooking the South Fork of the Rockfish River.

July 2013

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.

September 2014

The beautiful new Bold Rock Cider Barn opens to the public. Featuring 600 reclaimed oak beams, this facility provides for an expansive new tap room and significantly expands production capacity.

February 2015

Continuous increases in Bold Rock demand require even more production capacity. It is decided that that a new facility will be built in Mills River, NC using locally sourced Henderson County apples to craft delicious Carolina Apple and Carolina Draft.

May 2015

Bold Rock opens a new Tap Room at Carter Mountain Orchard just outside of Charlottesville, VA.

November 2015

Bold Rock opens the new Mills River Cidery & Tap Room to the public, formally introducing delicious hard cider to Western North Carolina.

June 2016

Bold Rock celebrates 4 years of hard cider production with distribution now in 10 states!

June 2017

We celebrated our 5th anniversary. Over 100 awards and counting, becoming the largest independently owned cidery in the country – we are excidered about the future!

October 2017

The old is new as Bold Rock transforms our original Nellysford Cidery production barn into the Barrel Barn, an innovation focused small batch crafting facility and intimate tap room.

May 2018

Bold Rock continues to innovate by means of our seasonal cider program, releasing the wildly popular Blackberry Cider which is our best selling seasonal to date.

June 2019

Bold Rock launches new line of hard seltzer products made from all-natural ingredients and an apple alcohol base.

October 2019

Bold Rock diversifies into ready-to-drink craft cocktails with the Bold Fashioned, crafted from premium American whiskey.

December 2019

Bold Rock joins the Artisanal Brewing Ventures family of brands which allowed 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!