For Immediate Release: July 31, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, Ofirah.Yheskel@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: Elaine Lidholm, Elaine.Lidholm@vdacs.virginia.gov | Sugar Hill Cidery, LLC: Jennifer Bailey, Sugarhillbrewingcompany@gmail.com

Governor Northam Announces Southwest Virginia’s First Cidery Locating in Downtown Norton

Sugar Hill Cidery, LLC to source Virginia-grown apples, will bring new jobs and investment to revitalizing downtown

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Sugar Hill Cidery, LLC will locate a new hard cider production facility and restaurant in the city of Norton’s revitalizing downtown. The cidery is a sister company of Sugar Hill Brewing Company, LLC, 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. 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.

“Bringing economic vitality, growth, and renewal to all corners of the Commonwealth is my top priority as governor, and my administration remains focused on creating opportunities for every Virginian, no matter who they are or where they live,” said Governor Northam. “I thank Sugar Hill Cidery for their commitment to supporting Virginia farmers, and for choosing to invest in and create jobs in this community. I also commend the city of Norton for the work it has done to build partnerships and reinvest in its downtown.”

“This investment by Sugar Hill Cidery in downtown Norton, along with their commitment to use only Virginia apples in making their cider, demonstrates the revitalizing impact agriculture can have across the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “This project sets an example for how the public and private sectors can come together to create jobs and spur tourism activity, thereby growing the local tax base, while also adding a vital income source for Virginia farmers.”

“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 of Norton partnered with the Commonwealth through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) 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.

“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.”

“The city of Norton is very excited to welcome Sugar Hill Cidery into our community, and we believe they will be a fit for our downtown revitalization efforts,” said Mayor William Mays. “This new cidery, along with the restaurant it supports, is a central piece of our city’s economic development strategy to position Downtown Norton as a regional hub for small business and job creation, and to strengthen tourism connections to the region’s outdoor recreational assets.”

“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.”

“I appreciate Sugar Hill Cidery making this investment in the city of Norton,” said Delegate Terry Kilgore. “I’m happy that these grant funds were able to support this project, and I am excited about the new jobs it brings to Norton.”

“New businesses like Sugar Hill Cidery are helping make Southwest Virginia’s economy stronger and more diverse,” said Senator Ben Chafin. “It is great news to see a large investment and new jobs created right here in Norton that will also help Virginia farmers. Tourism and growing downtowns are improving the quality of life in the region and making Southwest Virginia a true destination to visit.”

Governor 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. 

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