Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Potter’s Craft Cider, LLC will invest $1.56 million to relocate and expand their existing hard cider production facility and add a tasting room. As a result of this expansion, the company will create 12 new jobs in Albemarle County and more than quadruple its cider production, while continuing to source 100 percent of its apples from Virginia.
“This major expansion by Potter’s Craft Cider is a strong testament to Virginia’s reputation as a top craft beverage destination and highlights the important connection between our flourishing agriculture and tourism sectors,” said Governor Northam. “Investments like these bring new jobs and vitality to rural parts of the Commonwealth, while creating new markets for our farmers and contributing positively to regional economic growth.”
Opened in 2011 in Free Union, just outside of Charlottesville, Potter’s Craft Cider has since established a strong presence in the marketplace with their traditional and inventive cider varieties. Growing wholesale demands and customer desires for a tasting room experience fueled the duo to purchase Neve Hall, a former Episcopalian church built in 1924, for their relocation and expansion. Over the next three years, the company will renovate the historic building into a tasting room, construct a new production facility and establish an apple orchard on-site.
“As one of Virginia’s oldest producers in the fast-growing hard cider industry, I am pleased to see Potter’s Craft Cider continue to grow and succeed in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I am excited to partner with Albemarle County and Potter’s Craft Cider through the AFID program as we continue to support Virginia’s apple farmers through this thriving industry.”
“We are thrilled to bring life back into this historic Albemarle County property. The 100-year-old stone church is a perfect venue for showcasing our unique ciders,” said Potter’s Craft Cider co-founders Tim Edmond and Dan Potter. “We are very grateful for the support of the Commonwealth and the county as we embark on this exciting new chapter for our company.”
The Commonwealth is partnering with Albemarle County, the Albemarle County Economic Development Authority and Potter’s Craft Cider on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). Governor Northam approved a $50,000 grant from the AFID Fund to secure the project for Virginia, which Albemarle County and the County EDA will match with local funds.
“Agribusiness is one of our target industries, as it strengthens our rural areas,” said Chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Ned Gallaway. “The Board strongly supports Potter’s Craft Cider’s plans for investment and job creation in Albemarle. Our expected participation in this grant not only contributes to their growth and success, but to the growth and success of other businesses across Albemarle County, including agricultural producers, retailers, and area tourism.”
“We view this project as a great example of how the Economic Development Authority can help achieve the county’s vision by partnering with businesses to grow and expand, right here in Albemarle County,” said Albemarle County EDA Chairman Rod Gentry. “We look forward to supporting this excellent opportunity.”
“We need to be about encouraging the growth of local, home grown businesses. Indeed, America is all about entrepreneurs taking chances, creating jobs and driving economic activity,” said Senator Creigh Deeds. “I applaud the Governor for recognizing this chance to grow a local business and congratulate Tim and Dan on their initiative and success.”
“It’s so exciting to see our region’s agricultural businesses expand. Especially in diversified ways that grow the local economy,” said Delegate Matt Fariss. “The cider business uses a product produced in our community that had previously not been taken full advantage of because of transportation costs. The tasting room also adds to our collection of tourist attractions which will create jobs and income for Central Virginia.”