Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: March 31, 2022
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Macaulay Porter, Macaulay.Porter@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Contact: Michael Wallace Email: michael.wallace@vdacs.virginia.gov | Sandy River Distillery, Inc. Contact: Mark Smith Email: info@sandyriveroutdooradventures.com

Governor Glenn Youngkin Announces New Tourist Attraction in Prince Edward County

~ Sandy River Distillery to renovate historic log cabin, open farm distillery highlighting Virginia grains, barrels ~
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that the growing cluster of outdoor attractions around High Bridge State Park and Appomattox River near Farmville will soon be adding a Virginia-focused craft distillery to its list of amenities. Sandy River Distillery will be part of the popular Sandy River Outdoor Adventures Resort, which offers bike and kayak rentals, high-ropes courses, zip lines, as well as glamping tents and cabin rentals. This project will lead to the creation of ten new jobs, over $500,000 in new investment and the purchase of more than 20 tons of Virginia-grown corn, berries and rye. An 1840s log cabin relocated from nearby Prospect, Virginia has been rebuilt on-site to serve as the farm distillery’s tasting room.
 
“Today’s new agriculture and tourism focused announcement shows that the entrepreneurial spirit in Virginia continues to grow,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Sandy River Distillery is giving our residents and our visitors yet another reason to get out and experience all the Commonwealth has to offer.”  
 
Sandy River Distillery will produce a line of grain-to-glass whiskey and gin that pays homage to Virginia’s distilled spirit traditions, in addition to a line of canned specialty cocktails. The company plans to source as many ingredients from Prince Edward County as possible, including berries grown on Sandy River’s farm.  All whiskeys will be made using Virginia-grown grains and aged in new White Oak barrels produced by Speyside Bourbon Cooperage in Atkins, Virginia. The craft distillery will complement the many other tourism related businesses that have been growing in the area since the opening of High Bridge Trail State Park in 2008.
 
“This project is a great example of the strong connection that Virginia’s surging craft beverage industry is forging between that state’s two largest industries, agriculture and tourism,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “I thank Sandy River Distillery for their commitment to Virginia sourcing and I am pleased we could partner with Prince Edward County for their first ever AFID award to help bring new jobs, investment and market opportunities for our farmers to this part of rural Virginia.”
 
“Virginia is the Birthplace of American Spirits, and has quickly become a premier destination for spirits lovers from all over the country and the world,” said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “Sandy River Distillery is a welcome and exciting addition to an already thriving and diverse region, as travelers can now enjoy fine Virginia spirits after experiencing world-class outdoor recreation offerings and unique lodging options. Additionally, the success of cross-industry collaboration and the anticipated economic impact are further testaments to the power of partnership. The addition of Sandy River Distillery provides an inviting opportunity for Virginians and travelers alike to discover why Virginia is for Spirits Lovers.”
 
 “Through our unique destination and the mixing of old and new techniques and materials, we seek to honor the history of Virginia homesteaders, traditional craft distilling, and to tell the story of who we are today,” said Sandy River Distillery owner Mark Smith. “We hope our distillery can be a bridge between our region’s farmers and our community’s many residents and visitors, and that through our use of local ingredients and commitment to producing only the highest quality whiskeys and spirts, that together we are Distilling Pure Adventure.”
 
“On behalf of the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors, I want to congratulate Mark and Candace Smith and Sandy River Distillery,” said Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors Chair Dr. Odessa Pride. “This project represents a significant investment in Prince Edward and continues our efforts to diversify our local economy adding to the local attractions that we have to offer. Prince Edward County is proud to partner with the Commonwealth of Virginia in obtaining AFID grant funding for this project thereby creating jobs and capital investment while supporting our local agricultural community.”
 
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Prince Edward County and Sandy River Distillery, Inc. to secure this project for Virginia with a $25,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which Prince Edward County will match with local funds. This is Prince Edward County’s first ever AFID Facility Grant award, an economic development tool to help localities support new and expanding agriculture and forestry based businesses.
 
"Since the High Bridge Trail State Park opened in 2008, there has been a flurry of development in this area of Prince Edward County,'' said Senator Mark Peake. " With the announcement of Sandy River Distillery, it will complement the many other attractions that have developed around the park meaning guests who come to enjoy the beauty of the park have many options to choose from to encourage them to spend more time in our beautiful section of the Commonwealth."
 
"Welcoming Sandy River Distillery to the 60th House District is a win-win for everyone involved," said Delegate James Edmunds. "In addition to the jobs and the direct economic development that the distillery will bring, I am excited they will be purchasing Virginia's own commodities such as corn, berries and rye. This will help ensure local farmers and producers continue to be successful."

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