The pride on Courtney Mailey’s face was easily identified as she showed me around the back rooms of Blue Bee Cider, Manchester’s newest addition in the world of craft alcoholic beverages.
Blue Bee Cider is Virginia’s first urban cidery, which means it is located closer to its customer base than its crop source.
Located at 212 W. 6th Street, right next door to Legend Brewery, it has come roaring onto the drinking scene with a crisp, fresh tasting cider that’s turning heads and reinvigorating our love for the lowly apple.
Courtney Mailey is the founder and head cider maker of Blue Bee. She is a driven young woman with a passion for cider.
Why cider, you ask? So did I.
“My uncle is a winemaker in Washington. He has perfected reds, so that was out of the question. And Virginia is a white wine hot bed, so I didn’t want to get into that. I saw that cider had great growth potential and was a virtually wide open market, so I jumped in,” Mailey said.
She went on to tell me that becoming a cider maker is a much more relaxed process than beer or wine. She said she apprenticed for a time and has some specially made ciders from the time to prove it. She also took classes and studied the whole process in-depth before starting Blue Bee Cider’s first batch.
Blue Bee Cider is named after the blue orchard bee. This bee is generally one of the first bees to become active in the spring and is associated with pollinating apple crops all across North America.
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