RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that Wilderness Mountain Water Company™ (“Wilderness”) will create 55 new jobs as part of a multi-million-dollar expansion of its water bottling operation in Bland County. Wilderness will make significant modifications and upgrades to the former 3300 Artesian Bottled Water Company facility purchased in February 2022, including new beverage equipment that will allow the company to create new products, increase production, and engage in product innovation and research development. The facility is based around a century-old artesian well that produces exceptionally pure mountain water for use in a variety of premium beverages.
“We are thrilled that Wilderness can build on the assets of the former 3300 Artesian Bottled Water Company and expand product offerings that take advantage of the premium natural resources available in Bland County,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Virginia’s accessibility to some of the country’s most populated metro areas makes it a prime location to get product to market quickly, and our success in food and beverage processing is evidenced by companies like Wilderness that have located here and continue to expand in the Commonwealth.”
“We welcome Wilderness to Virginia’s booming food and beverage processing industry, one of our fastest-growing sectors, and look forward to the company’s exciting plans for growth in Bland County,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “Wilderness joins an impressive roster that benefits from the Commonwealth’s supply chain advantages, infrastructure, and skilled workforce, and we are pleased to support the creation of 55 new jobs in rural Virginia.”
“The Appalachian Mountains are not lower than the Rockies, Himalayas, or Alps—they are older.. The Appalachian’s ancient geology makes this unique flowing artesian water sustainable, pure, and delicious,” said Shane Emmett, a Wilderness company partner. “Virginia is rapidly solidifying its place as the leading location nationwide for food and beverage brands. It has a fantastic business climate, strong local and statewide government support, highly engaged universities and community colleges, and is proximate to 75% of the U.S. population with one-to two-days freight.”
“This facility has been a staple of the community in Bland County for many years and we are excited to have Wilderness invest in our community,” said Randy Johnson, member of the Bland County Board of Supervisors. “This is a great announcement, not only because it announces a reinvestment in an existing operation in Bland County, but also because it solidifies existing employment while providing additional job opportunities in the area.”
“We are thrilled about this partnership with Wilderness. Their vision, which will build on the treasured assets of Bland County, is exciting and will strengthen an already stout local economy,” said Nichole Hair, Mount Rogers Regional Partnership Executive Director. “The acquisition and deployment of capital will also further solidify the Mount Rogers Region as a leader in beverage manufacturing. We would like to thank Shane Emmett, Eric Workman, the Hunton team, and our partners at VEDP for helping bring this project to the finish line.”
“This reinvestment in the former 3300 Artesian Bottled Water facility by Wilderness is a testament to the strong performance of the Bland County operation,” said Senator Travis Hackworth. “We have the talent, work ethic, and commitment to make things happen in this region. To be recognized and valued by Wilderness only confirms this fact, as will the additional 55 jobs. I congratulate Shane Emmett and Eric Workman, as well as the whole team that made all this possible, and I look forward to many more great announcements as Bland County paves the way for the future.”
“This is exciting news for Bland County and the entire region. I remember as a young kid my family buying the large containers of 3300 Artesian water and seeing that it came from Bland County,” said Delegate James W. “Will” Morefield. “Bland County is one of the most beautiful places in the country and has faced numerous challenges over the years to attract new industry, primarily because of the limited amount of property available to develop. I commend Wilderness for making a significant investment to expand their operations. I thank Governor Youngkin and the team at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership for their support, as well.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Bland County and the Mount Rogers Regional Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Youngkin approved a $90,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Bland County with the project. Funding and services to support Wilderness’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.