Distillery to expand, create jobs with grant

Sid Dilawri, right, vice president of Filibuster Distillery in Maurertown, is shown with Dr. Basil Gooden, Virginia secretary of agriculture and forestry, following Tuesday's announcement of an $800,000 expansion of the distillery. The expansion includes production equipment for the facility and a tasting room. Rich Cooley/Daily

MAURERTOWN – Filibuster Distillery received a $30,000 grant and will invest $795,000 to expand its whiskey production operation in Maurertown, creating eight new jobs over three years.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved the $30,000 Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development fund grant, which is being matched by local funds, to assist with the distillery’s expansion efforts.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden presented the grant check to the business Tuesday morning. He said the distillery will source 100 percent of its corn and rye from Virginia farmers and will purchase over 1.57 million pounds of grain.

Gooden said the family operated distillery will also purchase “new, top of the line, high-quality production equipment” and will expand the facility to include a tasting room. The expansion efforts will double Filibuster’s capacity to produce.

“I really do appreciate this opportunity to share in helping to launch Filibuster to its next stage of its growth,” he added.

Dr. Basil Gooden, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, announces the $800,000 expansion of Filibuster Distillery in Maurertown on Tuesday morning. The expansion includes production equipment for the facility and a tasting room. Rich Cooley/Daily

He said McAuliffe’s vision for Virginia’s economy includes reducing the commonwealth’s dependence on federal help by ensuring “each sector and component of the economy in Virginia can stand on its own.”

Gooden added that agriculture and forestry are two of the largest private industries in Virginia, making an annual economic impact of $70 billion.

He said he was excited to be in the area because Shenandoah County “recognizes the importance of moving forward with economic development.”

“This is an outstanding time in Virginia’s economy to buy Virginia products,” he said. “There is a growing industry around craft beverage industry here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The Virginia craft beverage industry makes an economic impact of over $2 billion annually, he added, with 49 craft distilleries, 296 wineries and 181 craft breweries in the commonwealth.

Sid Dilawri, left, vice president of Filibuster Distillery in Maurertown, speaks with Shenandoah County District 6 Supervisor Conrad Helsley, center, and Dr. Basil Gooden, right, Virginia secretary of agriculture and forestry, on Tuesday at the distillery. Rich Cooley/Daily

District 6 Shenandoah County Supervisor Conrad Helsley said small business is what makes America what it is today, with 80 percent of employed people in the country holding jobs in small businesses.

“Economic development is what makes things tick,” he said about adding jobs to the area.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com