Coyote Hole Ciderworks aims for early spring opening in Louisa

The cidery has started brewing in anticipation of a spring 2017 opening. PHOTO: Coyote Hole

The cidery has started brewing in anticipation of a spring 2017 opening. PHOTO: Coyote Hole

RICHMOND, Va. — On Wednesday, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Coyote Hole Ciderworks, LLC  will soon open in Louisa County, and use only state-grown apples in production.

Cider continues to be “a new shining star” for the economy, with state cider sales spiking annually. Last year saw a 200 percent spike over 2014 sales, an explosive trend expected to continue in future years. Sales continued to grow in 2016, with nearly 417,000 cases of Virginia cider sold — an increase of more than 52 percent over 2015 sales.

Coyote Hole Ciderworks will create five new jobs and invest $775,000 in a new production cidery and tasting room in Mineral. In addition, the company will purchase more than 1 million pounds of Virginia-grown apples and fruit over the next three years.

The cidery, founded by Chris and Laura Denkers, Michael Baier and Sarah Conine, has a spring opening planned at their Mineral location. The name is a nod to the rich mining history of the town.  A “Coyote Hole” is a small blast hole used in mining operations which looks similar to the holes that coyotes use as their dens.

The governor's announcement was made from Coyote Hole. PHOTO: Coyote Hole

The announcement was made from Coyote Hole. PHOTO: Coyote Hole

The Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund will assist Louisa County and Coyote Hole Ciderworks on this project with a $20,000 grant, and Louisa is matching it with local funds.

“This grant will help us get up and running, grow more quickly and bring new jobs into Louisa County while supporting local businesses throughout Virginia,” Chris Denkers said.

“Louisa County is fortunate to have Coyote Hole Ciderworks as part of our business community, the first of its kind in the County,” added Chairman Lloyd Runnett of the Louisa County Industrial Development Authority. “

While the concentration of breweries and cideries in the metro-area can be found within city limits, the past few years has seen the successful launch of several breweries in nearby Goochland. Midnight Brewing opened in 2011, Lickinghole Creek opened in 2013 and Hardywood has started work on a $28 million expansion in the West Creek office park.

Agriculture and forestry are two of Virginia’s largest industries with a combined economic impact of $70 billion annually, according to a 2013 economic impact. Agriculture generates more than $52 billion per annum, while forestry induces over $17 billion.

The industries also provide more than 400,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.

There are approximately 20 cideries in Virginia, which places it in the top 10 nationally. Foggy Ridge Cider in Carroll County first established its orchards in 1998 and opened for business in 2006.