Blue Bee Cider announced on February 18 that it will relocate and expand its cidery into the old city stables in Scott’s Addition, and will invest more than $1 million to renovate the historic property. The company also plans to expand its existing orchard, bringing agriculture back to Richmond, and purchase over $250,000 worth of Virginia-grown apples and berries from Virginia farmers over the next three years. Gathered in front of a crowd of cider enthusiasts, Mayor Dwight Jones, Governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore, and Courtney Mailey, owner of Blue Bee Cider, all spoke about the new venture.
“I am extremely pleased that Blue Bee Cider has chosen to not only remain in the city of Richmond, but expand its operations here at this unique and historic property in the heart of the dynamic Scott’s Addition neighborhood,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “In addition to manufacturing a product that uses Virginia and Richmond resources, Blue Bee will be a neighborhood and tourism draw, adding a unique gathering venue for locals and tourists alike to the eclectic and growing mix of businesses and residents in Scott’s Addition.”
Governor McAuliffe stated, “I am pleased to announce Blue Bee Cider’s investment in the City of Richmond, which marks new opportunities for Virginia’s growing hard cider industry. Blue Bee’s investment bolsters Virginia’s reputation as a top East Coast craft beverage destination and highlights the growing and important link between agriculture and tourism across the Commonwealth.
“As Richmond’s food and beverage reputation was rising, two years ago I started looking for a new facility to accommodate our growth. I feel very fortunate that Blue Bee Cider has found a home at such a beautiful place with urban-agricultural roots. The Stables are so wonderful as they are. It is a true honor to be part of its story and rebirth,” added Courtney Mailey, owner of Blue Bee Cider. “I have been so appreciative of the leadership provided by VDACS’s AFID program on this project. I also am thankful that the City’s Department of Economic and Community Development gave Blue Bee Cider a fair shake during the bidding process for this property. Having great partners at the state and local level has made it possible for Blue Bee Cider to show what a community-oriented, urban cidery can be like.”
The Commonwealth is partnering with the City of Richmond and Blue Bee 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 McAuliffe approved a $50,000 grant from the AFID Fund to assist with the project, which the City of Richmond is matching with local funds.