For two years, brothers Doug and Tim Smith researched and planned how they would turn their passion for craft beverages into a business.
While breweries have been a popular industry in Hampton Roads for years now, the duo decided to change the landscape by opening the region’s first cidery — Sly Clyde Ciderworks.
“We really, really enjoy craft beverages, whether it’s breweries or cideries, and seeing that there wasn’t a cidery in Hampton Roads we realized it was a great opportunity to do something we love,” said Doug Smith.
Originally from Hampton, the Smiths will set up shop in the Phoebus neighborhood of their hometown on Mellen Street.
While their home base will be in Hampton, Doug Smith feels the addition of craft hard cider in Hampton Roads craft beverage scene will reach beyond the Peninsula.
“We do not see the bridge tunnel being a barrier to our expansion,” he said. “We think of Hampton Roads as one region, and we’re going to approach Hampton Roads as a region.”
Classified as a farm cidery, Sly Clyde will grow a large portion of the apples used in their cider on the 1.5-acre property. The cidery is also leasing a part of an orchard in Nellysford, keeping the production and ingredients Virginia-based.
According to Doug Smith, he is looking to produce around 20,000 gallons of hard cider in their first year.
“That’s where we’ll start,” Doug Smith said.” Depending on how strong our production is, we hope that we’ll be using several orchardists around the state, but out of the chute we know we will be getting them out of Nellysford at first.”
With the introduction of craft hard cider to the region, the Smiths have already begun looking into distribution agreements with restaurants, bars, and other businesses in Virginia Beach and Norfolk.
Sly Clyde is expected to begin producing cider by November, with the goal of becoming a regional brand.
“When you think about it, most of us are accustomed to going into a bar and there is one tap for cider and a whole bunch of taps for beer,” Doug Smith said. “We want to double the number of taps for cider, and we want that added tap to be Sly Clyde throughout the Hampton Roads region.”
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This article was published in partnership with WYDaily’s sister publication, Southside Daily.