Bold Rock Cidery has its main production facility and tasting room in Nellysford, but has now opened an “outpost” store at Chiles Peach Orchard in Crozet.
It’s meant to be a tasting and sales room and a growler filling station, said Lindsay Dorrier, director of retail sales for Bold Rock.
Bold Rock is leasing half of a new building at the orchard; the other half will be occupied by Prince Michel Winery, based in Madison County. Since last May, both companies have had shops at Chiles’ Crown Orchard location on Carter Mountain in Charlottesville.
“We decided to do the same thing at the peach orchard in Crozet,” said Dorrier.
“This is community-focused,” said Dorrier. “It’s for Crozet to be able to get to the cidery. We mean to engage with cyclists and runners. They can stop and get a refreshing cider. We’d like it to be a n early-evening spot, so you don’t have to hike to Charlottesville.”
The shop is nestled among peach trees and has a pebbled-stone seating area in front that will accommodate at least a half dozen tables.
“It’s an in-orchard experience under the shade of the trees. It will be a pretty fun spot.”
The store will offer tasting flights of Bold Rock’s five ciders as well as cider mimosas. Virginia Apple remains Bold Rock’s top seller, Dorrier said, but the IPA-style cider, which incorporates hops, is growing fast. “Beer drinkers are gravitating to it.”
“We have six major suppliers of apples from around the Rockfish Valley, but Chiles Orchards is the largest supplier of those and they are most forward-thinking about how to stay competitive,” said Dorrier. “Our founders are incredibly involved and they care about the brand. They don’t want to cede control.
“Where does your food come from? We work with local farmers to get apples. You can know the families and not go the industrial route. We have local people working hard to make locally sourced food available. It’s the same for us in North Carolina with the Nix family, a five-generation orchard.”
The cidery arranges music at Crown Orchard and intends to do the same in Crozet.
“We’re starting to drive visitation there [in Charlottesville] and we think the same thing will happen here. We’ll be here in the strawberry and peach season. It’s a place to relax.”
Bold Rock has opened a new cidery in Asheville, North Carolina, and is now distributed in nine states from Pennsylvania to Tennessee and the District of Columbia. “We’re growing robustly. We’re unique in being the sixth largest cidery and being locally owned. Our main markets are Virginia and North Carolina. Angry Orchard is out main competitor in our region.
“But this is our core market and we want to maintain strong loyalty in our hometown. These outposts are feathers in our cap to be visible in the community. We’re excited to be part of Crozet and the direction it’s heading. It’s cool for us. We want to be deeply involved in Crozet.”