Virginia distillery expanding to Williamsburg
Rick Wasmund, the owner of Sperryville-based Copper Fox Distillery, is more than a little invested in his business’s latest expansion. He and his family will live in a 1952 motor court complex in Williamsburg, which will become Copper Fox’s second distillery.
“There are nine buildings here; we’ll live in one of them,” Wasmund said just after the expansion was announced in December. “The other eight, one of them we’ll keep as hotel rooms … then the rest will all be dedicated to production.”
Copper Fox will invest more than $2 million in the expansion and create 28 jobs (at the time of the announcement Copper Fox had 11 full-time employees). The complex on Capitol Landing Road was purchased from the city of Williamsburg for $600,000. An opening date for the new distillery has not been set.
“This is a great day, it’s fun, we’re going to have some cocktails and refreshments after that, but then very shortly a lot of work begins,” Wasmund said during the expansion announcement. “We are going to have to keep a tight pencil, and this is going to be a big job.”
The distillery will malt, produce and age its own products and offer on-site tastings to the public. It also will malt barley and grains for other distilleries and craft brewers on an on-demand basis.
Copper Fox’s Sperryville facility currently produces 11,000 9-liter cases per year. Wasmund projects that with the new facility, Copper Fox will produce 40,000 more 9-liter cases in that same amount of time. The company, which was started in 2000, currently makes rye and single-malt whiskeys and gin.
Copper Fox received a $50,000 grant from the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID) for the project, an amount that was matched by the city of Williamsburg. As a condition of the AFID grant, Copper Fox also says it will purchase all of its grains from Virginia producers.
Distilleries have recently seen an uptick in the commonwealth. According to the Virginia Tourism Corp. there were about 15 distilleries in the state in December 2014, up from five distilleries in 2008.