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Sugar Hill Cidery Chooses Norton, Virginia, for Hard Cider Production

08/02/2018
Sugar Hill Cidery will locate its new hard cider production facility and restaurant downtown Norton, Virginia.

The cidery is a sister company of Sugar Hill Brewing Company, a craft brewery and restaurant operating in downtown St. Paul. The cidery will be located in a soon-to-be renovated former auto dealership owned by the Norton Industrial Development Authority.

“We believe that the city of Norton is the right place, and this is the right time to introduce the concept of a working cidery and restaurant to Southwest Virginia,” said Sugar Hill Cidery Owner Jennifer Bailey.

“We appreciate the support from both local and state governments to develop this project. The area has embraced the brewery in St. Paul, and this has encouraged us to branch out to create an additional, unique establishment for the area. In addition to the cidery employees, we will be hiring more than 30 local people to help us in the restaurant. The future in Southwest Virginia is being reimagined, and it is brimming with hope,” she said.

The city of Norton has been working with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for several years to make this site a center of downtown activity, receiving an Industrial Revitalization Fund grant from the agency to assist with the renovation of the derelict site into multiple commercial buildings.

The city of Norton partnered with the Commonwealth through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to locate the cidery to the city. This cidery project, which represents almost $500,000 in new investment, will create six new cidery jobs and lead to the purchase of nearly $90,000 of Virginia sourced apples over the next three years.

Sugar Hill Cider plans to source 100 percent of its apples from Virginia, working with existing suppliers and developing connections with local producers, as well.

As an incentive, Governor Ralph Northam approved a $50,000 grant for the project from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The AFID grant will be matched by local funds.

The city of Norton also received a $480,000 grant to rehabilitate the building from the Industrial Revitalization Fund, administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). VDACS and DHCD worked with the Norton Industrial Development Authority to secure this project for Virginia.

“The investment Norton is making into this building will have a transformative effect on their downtown,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The once vacant building will house an expansion of a Virginia-grown small business, a farmers market and an entrepreneurial center, in partnership with UVA-Wise, for downtown Norton, creating a destination and entrepreneurial hub for Norton residents, businesses and tourists alike.”

“The city recently completed a Downtown Revitalization Master Plan, which recommended various development and improvement initiatives along Park Avenue and improved connections to outdoor destinations, including Flag Rock Recreation Area and the High Knob Recreation Area” said Norton Industrial Development Authority Chairman Byron Cantrell. “The development of the cidery, restaurant and shared expo center/public event space will greatly enhance Downtown Norton as a destination for residents, businesses and regional outdoor recreation visitors.”

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