Nelson County Getting New Cider Pub

Reporter: Mark Kelly l Videographer: Parker Slaybaugh

Nelson County, VA - Nelson County has its share of breweries and wineries that attract tourists. Now, you can add a cider pub to the list. One's coming to Nellysford soon enough.

Owner John Washburn is working on phase one of a three phase project that will turn his Nelson County farm into a cider pub. Kicking off the New Year, a Nellysford farm will open the doors to Bold Rock Cider. Washburn got the idea while living abroad in New Zealand. But, a master cider brewer he was not.

"And then I Googled New Zealand cider and I saw the name Brian Shanks who was the pioneer of New Zealand cider," said Washburn.

After some arm-pulling, he got Shanks on board, and got him to America.

"All things together, it seemed a very feasible and wonderful idea to do," said Brian Shanks.

And Nelson County, they say, with its many apple orchards is the perfect place.

"Nelson County has a great history and heritage of apples," said Washburn.

Preserving the local history is important for these entrepreneurs. The first building in phase one was built to look like a refinished old barn; that is where the fermentation tanks will go and soon the tasting room for customers. Phase two is in the works, but Washburn says, "It'll be 3 stories, very vertical, wood shingles, wood siding, whimsical looking."

And, this time next year, Bold Rock will have a tasting room, restaurant, and a cider unique to Nelson County.

"After all, it's a very nice, pleasant drink. It's not too heavy and it's not too light. It's situated just very, very nicely between beer and wine. It just fits in beautifully," said Shanks.

John Washburn came out of retirement to start Bold Rock Cider. He says starting a hard cider business from scratch is very stimulating - more stimulating than retirement.