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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: January 28, 2020
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: Elaine Lidholm, Elaine.Lidholm@vdacs.virginia.gov | Sage Bird Ciderworks: Zach Carlson, zach@sagebirdciderworks.com

Governor Northam Announces New Farm Cidery to Locate in Downtown Harrisonburg

Sage Bird Ciderworks to source 100 percent Virginia products, contribute to City’s downtown renaissance

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Sage Bird Ciderworks will open a new production facility and tasting room in the City of Harrisonburg’s Culinary District. This cidery project, which represents $155,000 in new investment, will create six new jobs and lead to the purchase of more than $53,000 of Virginia-grown products over the next three years.

“The apple industry is at the core of the Shenandoah Valley’s diverse economy,” said Governor Northam. “I am excited to support this innovative project that brings together Virginia’s two largest industries, agriculture and tourism. I thank Sage Bird Ciderworks for investing in Harrisonburg’s Culinary District and helping create an authentic craft beverage experience in our Commonwealth.”

Locating in a former automotive mechanic shop, the company will produce a variety of innovative and traditional artisanal hard ciders, sourcing 100 percent of its apples from the Commonwealth, along with other Virginia-grown products like hops, herbs and paw-paws. As the City’s first Virginia farm winery-licensed production facility, Sage Bird Ciderworks will add a new agricultural and artisanal draw to Harrisonburg’s blossoming downtown.

“The success of Virginia’s hard cider industry is based on partnerships between our strong apple industry, innovative companies like Sage Bird Ciderworks, and supportive communities like the City of Harrisonburg,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I am thrilled that the Commonwealth could also be a partner in this terrific project.”

“We are very excited to open Sage Bird Ciderworks in the north end of downtown Harrisonburg,” said Zach Carlson, owner of Sage Bird Ciderworks. “Apples play a prominent role in the economic and agricultural history of the Shenandoah Valley, and we intend to build on that legacy by producing cider that is representative of this incredible area.”

The City of Harrisonburg partnered with the Commonwealth through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund to locate the cidery to the City. Governor Northam approved a $15,000 grant from the AFID Fund, administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The AFID grant will be matched by local funds. 

“Thanks to Sage Bird Ciderworks, working in partnership with the Commonwealth and the City of Harrisonburg, we have another new business creating Virginia-grown products and providing more opportunities for our agritourism industry,” said Senator Mark Obenshain. “As a strong supporter of the AFID program, I am pleased to be a part of this new endeavor.”

“Congratulations to Sage Bird Ciderworks on this new venture that will benefit our local economy, including our local growers,” said Delegate Tony Wilt. “This is just another example of AFID making a positive impact to grow Virginia’s agriculture economy through value-added businesses that all Virginians and visitors can enjoy.”

“Harrisonburg is excited to partner with the Commonwealth and Sage Bird Ciderworks to help the company establish their production facility and tasting room in our thriving downtown,” said Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna R. Reed. “This homegrown startup business will certainly be a tourist attraction that will complement our wide array of restaurants, craft breweries, and unique retailers. We welcome Sage Bird as the newest member of our vibrant business community.”

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