Hard Ciders Gaining Popularity, Bringing Increase in Va. Tourism

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Many craft breweries and vineyards call Virginia home, but now, a new beverage is making a name for itself and carving out its own niche in the industry.

According to the Demeter Group Investment Bank, the cider market is expected to continue rising about 11 percent through 2016.

Currently, there are about seven or eight different cideries in Virginia; however, because there are only a handful of them, people need to travel to visit bringing in more tourism for the area.

Shannon Showalter, the owner of Showalter's Orchard, said, the increase in money coming into their farm creates more jobs locally.

When his farm started producing hard cider three years ago, it started with only a couple hundred cases.

Now, the industry has grown so quickly they produce more than 2,000 cases of hard cider, according to Showalter.

Showalter also said this extra revenue has helped them keep their family farm.

"Farming is getting tougher for small guys so we have to add value to what we are doing or get bigger. And, we wanted to stay here on the property that we had," said Showalter.

Moving forward, the Showalter family says they plan to hire more people and start putting their products in local stores and restaurants.

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