For Immediate Release: May 13, 2015
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, (804) 225-4260, Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686, Elaine.Lidholm@vdacs.virginia.gov

Governor McAuliffe Announces New Craft Distillery in Culpeper County

~Old House Distillery to Open Region’s First Joint Winery-Distillery Operation, Sourcing More Than 80% Virginia-Grown Products~

 

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that owners of Old House Vineyards (http://www.oldhousevineyards.com/) will open a new craft distillery called Old House Distillery on their family farm in Culpeper County.  The company, recognized as one of only a few joint winery and distillery operations in Virginia, will invest $229,000 and create three new jobs in Culpeper County, while sourcing 84 percent of its grain, grapes, and honey from Virginia agricultural producers.  The Commonwealth of Virginia is partnering with Culpeper County and Old House Vineyards on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID). 

Speaking about the announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Today’s announcement is an excellent example of the important role that our diverse agricultural industry can and will play in building the new Virginia economy.  This AFID grant to Culpeper County leverages one of the Commonwealth’s greatest assets to bring together multiple aspects of economic development in one operation – agriculture, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, tourism and community development, among others.  Virginia’s status as a world-class wine, cider, beer and spirits producer is rising, and we aim to raise it even higher.” 

The new craft distillery will use agricultural commodities to produce handcrafted spirits, bringing a new economic development and agritourism opportunity to Culpeper County through a long-established family business in the region.  The new operations for Old House Distillery help to raise the profile of the craft distillery industry in the state, merging the interests of agriculture, tourism and community development.

“Old House Distillery’s investment represents an exciting new opportunity for Virginia producers and for the Commonwealth as we continue to take advantage of the emerging craft beer, cider, and distilled spirit industries to enhance, improve, and successfully market Virginia-grown inputs,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore.  “With more than 260 wineries and cideries, 100 craft breweries and 20 craft distilleries, Virginia is quickly emerging as the preeminent craft beverage player on the East Coast.  These entrepreneurial ventures are creating jobs and generating revenue, especially in rural areas, and helping to build the new Virginia economy.”  

Old House Distillery will invest in the site improvements, buildings, and equipment needed to open a new distillery, tasting room and remote-licensed ABC store on the 75-acre property.  The company’s signature product will be a Virginia Brandy – 100% grown, harvested, fermented, distilled and bottled on site.  In addition to producing this flagship product, Old House Distillery will provide distilling services for local wineries to distill their wines into fortified spirits for a 100% Virginia Port-style wine.  Old House Distillery will also begin a Virginia Brandy collection in partnership with other wineries across the Commonwealth. 

“We have been tremendously fortunate to live and operate in a state and county so supportive of both agricultural commodities and new industries,” said Patrick Kearney, owner of Old House Vineyards.  “I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the citizens of Culpeper for their incredible support both today and over the past 15 years that we have been able to call this county home.  We look forward to welcoming everyone to the opening of our new craft distillery and World War II Tasting Room later this year!” 

“I am very proud and excited that Culpeper County and Old House Vineyards have been selected to receive this AFID facilities grant that will result in the creation of Old House Distillery,” said Steven Nixon, Chairman of the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors.  “As a result of this grant, Old House becomes one of the first few operations in the Commonwealth of Virginia to combine a farm winery and distillery.  Agribusiness and agritourism are a fundamental part of the fabric and heritage of our community, and we appreciate the Commonwealth’s ongoing commitment and support of our local businesses.” 

Speaking about the AFID grant’s impact for Old House Distillery, Delegate Michael Webert, R – Marshall said, “This is a great thing for agriculture, especially value-added agriculture in the Commonwealth, and the AFID grant has been a great support for expanding our number one industry.” 

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with Culpeper County to secure this expansion for Virginia.  Governor McAuliffe approved a $20,000 grant from the AFID Fund to assist Culpeper County with the project.  Old House Distillery is also committing to purchase more than $220,000 in Virginia grapes, grain, and honey over three years, or more than 80% of agricultural products needed for the new production venture. 

According to a 2013 economic impact study conducted by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, agriculture and forestry are two of Virginia’s largest private industries with a combined economic impact of $70 billion annually.  Agriculture generates more than $52 billion per annum, while forestry generates more than $17 billion.  The industries also provide more than 400,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.  More information about the Weldon Cooper Center’s study can be found at http://www.coopercenter.org/node/2/publications/economic-impacts-agriculture-and-forestry-virginia-revised-2012

About the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund

The AFID Fund was created during the 2012 session of the General Assembly and is being embraced by the McAuliffe Administration as an important tool in growing the Commonwealth’s agriculture and forestry sector and helping to make Virginia the leading exporter of agricultural and forest products on the East Coast.  More information about the AFID grant, which has the flexibility to assist projects large and small throughout Virginia, can be found at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/agribusiness/afid.shtml.

Since the beginning of the McAuliffe Administration, 383 economic development deals have been closed in Virginia with more than $6.62 billion in capital investment, more than twice the amount of capital investment brought to the Commonwealth in any Governor’s first 16 months in office.

 

###