Bold Rock Hard Cider is now the sixth largest hard cider company in the U.S., according to recently released IRI data. The award-winning craft cider company, which makes a variety of hard cider styles from apples picked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, sold 45,000 barrels in 2016, up 70%. It’s remarkable growth for a company that started in 2012 as a small operation and has grown to include two production facilities in Nellysford, Virginia, and Mills River, North Carolina, and distributes in nine states between Eastern Pennsylvania and Georgia.

With over 75 full-time employees, Bold Rock now produces 12 styles of hard cider, including the popular originals Apple and Draft, and a rotating mix of seasonals that includes Peach and Blood Orange cider. Bold Rock’s IPA (India Pressed Apple) is now the best-selling hopped cider in the U.S. These authentic varieties of cider have found favor with a wide range of customers and throughout the industry, as Bold Rock has won over 100 awards in hard cider and wine competitions since first launching.

Bold Rock Hard Cider was founded by partners John Washburn and Brian Shanks. Washburn owned a scenic piece of farmland in Nellysford, a bucolic small town in Central Virginia’s Nelson County, now well-known for its many craft breweries and wineries. For his land, Washburn had the vision to go in a different direction and produce craft cider with the region’s abundance of locally grown apples. To fulfill his ambition, he sought out New Zealand native Brian Shanks, a master cider maker and world-renowned expert with more than three decades of experience in the industry at numerous cider companies. The two fast friends have since put together a rapidly growing operation, turning Bold Rock into the largest independently owned craft cidery in the United States.

Starting in a small barn, Bold Rock expanded on its original property in 2015, building a $6 million state-of-the-art, production facility and tasting room overlooking the Rockfish River Valley. In November 2015, Bold Rock opened a second production facility and taproom in Mills River, North Carolina, utilizing the abundance of premium apples grown in the state’s western mountains.

“We’ve experienced tremendous growth, but as we continue to expand we will not compromise our craft and the quality of our hard cider,” says Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing Jeff Liebhardt. Jeff joined Bold Rock in 2014 after 25 years of experience in the beverage industry working for E. & J. Gallo Winery and the Boston Beer Company.

With recent infrastructure expansion, Bold Rock now has the capability to produce 150,000 barrels of cider per year, and this year the company is forecasting production of 65,000 barrels. In addition to expanding distribution and tap room sales, Bold Rock also participates in over 300 festivals a year, bringing authentic craft cider to people throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.

About Bold Rock: Bold Rock Hard Cider is winner of more than 100 awards in the past five years, and they produce 12 hard ciders, all made from apples locally grown and handpicked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. Additional company information can be found at For more information, contact Traci Mierzwa, Brand Development Manager of Bold Rock Hard Cider, at traci(at)boldrock(dot)com, or Hannah Watson, Mountain High Media, 434-817-2775 ext. 19 or Hannah(at)mtnhighmedia(dot)com.

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