New sawmill, distillery opening in Halifax County

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Governor McAuliffe was at Springfield Distillery this afternoon to announce the state’s $22,000 investment in a distillery and a sawmill.
With the help of the state, the agricultural economy in Halifax County is growing with two new businesses.

Governor Terry McAuliffe was at Springfield Distillery Wednesday to announce the state’s $22,000 investment in a distillery and a sawmill.

Springfield Distillery will open in July producing a corn and single malt whiskey, as well as gin.

The alcohol will be made from Virginia grown products.

And to help support the forestry industry, Slick Rock Lumber says 75 percent of its timber will be from Virginia landowners.

“I feel excited about it. I just grew into helping the community,” Slick Rock Lumber Owner Kenneth Hodges.

“Spent the last two years putting things in place. It’s always good to see someone like the governor turn up and give support for an operation like this,” Springfield Distillery Owner James Gordon said.

Governor McAuliffe says this a very important push not only for the economy but for tourism in Halifax County.

Adding around 20 new jobs, both businesses will help bring attention to what Halifax County has to offer.

Slick Rock Lumber will invest $535,000 for site improvements and equipment.

Springfield Distillery will invest $160,000 in site improvements and equipment needed to open a new distillery, tasting room, and ABC store at the historic Springfield Farm.

Here is the news release from Springfield Distillery:

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Springfield Distillery will open a new whiskey distillery in Halifax County. The company, the first craft distillery in Halifax, will create five new jobs in the county and source one-hundred percent of its corn and barley needs from Virginia agricultural producers. The Commonwealth of Virginia is partnering with Halifax County and Springfield Distillery on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID).

Speaking at the announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Springfield Distillery’s investment is an excellent example of the important role that small businesses and our diverse agricultural economy can and will play in building the new Virginia economy. I’m pleased that the AFID grant to Halifax leverages agriculture, one of the Commonwealth’s largest economic drivers, to bring together multiple aspects of economic development – entrepreneurship, manufacturing, and tourism – in one operation. Entrepreneurial projects like these should be recognized and commended for strengthening these important sectors of the Commonwealth’s economy and for enhancing Virginia’s reputation as a world-class spirts, wine, cider, and craft beer producer.”

Springfield Distillery will invest $160,000 in the site improvements and equipment needed to open a new distillery, tasting room, and remote-licensed ABC store on the historic Springfield Farm, built in 1842. Springfield Distillery is also committing to purchase almost 150,000 pounds of Virginia corn and barley over the next three years – 100% of the agricultural products needed for the new production venture. The new craft distillery will serve as the central attraction to an agritourism operation that will feature log cabin lodging, farm-to-table dinners, and whiskey tasting and production classes.

“Springfield Distillery’s investment represents an exciting new economic opportunity for Halifax County and our local grain producers, who are now marketing their high-quality, Virginia-grown inputs to the emerging craft beer, cider, and distilled spirit industries,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “With more than 275 wineries and cideries, 140 craft breweries, and 30 craft distilleries, Virginia is emerging as the preeminent craft beverage player on the East Coast. These entrepreneurial ventures are creating jobs, drawing tourists, generating revenue, providing new markets for our growers, and helping the Governor’s overall efforts to build the new Virginia economy.”

James Gordon, owner of Springfield Distillery, said, “We are excited about the future of the distillery, and we are proud to have hired local contractors and to be sourcing our corn from local farmers here in Halifax County, Virginia. Kelly and I are grateful for the support of the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s AFID Program, and we look forward to a long and successful future here.”

“Halifax IDA is proud of the enduring strength of our agriculture and forestry industries. The Commonwealth’s AFID program helps us support these types of Halifax businesses as we meet our mission to increase employment and grow our economy. James and Kelly Gordon, the owners of Springfield Distillery, have lived and worked all over the world. Their business plan can work in many places in the world. We are pleased that they chose to bring their world of knowhow, and entrepreneurial spirit to Halifax County, Virginia,” added Matt Leonard, Halifax Industrial Development Authority Executive Director.

Delegate James Edmunds (R-Halifax) states, “I’m very pleased that Springfield Distillery was chosen for this AFID grant. It is this very type of small business growth that will position Southern Virginia to grow economically and it is a perfect fit for our agricultural community. I look forward to watching them grow!”

Governor McAuliffe approved a $10,000 grant from the AFID Fund to assist with the project, which Halifax County is matching with local funds. The Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).