Leesburg’s list of watering holes will soon grow a little bit longer, with the addition of the downtown area’s first cidery.
Wild Hare Cider is planning to move its Bluemont-based tasting room to Leesburg’s Market Station, in the log cabin underneath Tuscarora Mill restaurant and next to South Street Under. The opening of the tasting room is anticipated for mid-December.
Jay Clement, who owns Wild Hare along with wife Coleen, said the move from Bluemont to Leesburg was precipitated by the sale of the tasting room’s former building. The duo signed their Bluemont tasting room lease in September 2014, and opened the tasting room to the public the following August. For the last two years, they have attracted a loyal following of cider enthusiasts to the small mountain town, but Clement said he hopes the Market Station location will attract even more foot traffic on a consistent basis. Before the doors have even opened in Leesburg, Clement said they have been floored by the excitement expressed by followers on social media.
“I’m looking at it optimistically,” he said of the move. “We love Bluemont, we love being there, but I think being closer to Leesburg is going to be good for us.”
The Clements were attracted to the character of the Market Station log cabin, much like the character of their Bluemont space. They are also looking forward to networking with the current brewing company in and around Leesburg, noting several brewers have already reached out regarding future collaborations.
“It seems like there’s a different sense of community in Leesburg so we’re excited at being a part of that,” Jay Clement said.
They are planning to keep their current 3,200-square-foot warehouse space in Berryville, where some of their production takes place. They had looked into opening a tasting room in the Clarke County town, but the current parking and zoning restrictions there were too onerous, Clement said. He said Wild Hare may eventually open multiple tasting rooms so he did not rule out other locations in addition to Leesburg in the future.
For those who have not yet tried Wild Hare’s wares, the cidery offers both flagship and seasonal ciders. Clement said they are constantly experimenting with different flavors and ingredients, from orange peel to hibiscus, as well as a sour cider modeled after a Spanish cider.
“We use heirloom apples. It’s not like conventional cider to where it’s super sweet,” Clement said. “We use slow fermentation techniques, but we also play around a little bit.”
In addition to the tasting room, Wild Hare’s ciders are also available in local stores, like Total Wine, as well as restaurants. For more information on the cidery, visit wildharecider.com.