Sunday, July 14, 2024

Yonder Cider Co. anticipates August opening for Eastside taproom

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CASHMERE – Yonder Cider Co., which picks and presses its apples in Wenatchee, will be opening its first Eastside taproom this August in Side Street Cashmere.

“We've been getting requests to open a taproom in Wenatchee from the day we opened, and it made sense for us to open in Seattle first…But we have been searching for a place in this valley for years, and we're so thankful that we found this one,” said Caitlin Braam, Yonder Cider founder and CEO.

Yonder Cider sources its cider fruit from small local orchards, and its culinary fruit from Stemilt Growers. Then, all of the fruit is pressed and turned into cider not far from where it’s grown, in the company's Wenatchee-based cidery.

“It's actually an old cherry packing facility that we've transformed into our cidery. It's just really fun to have partners in this valley who know what they're doing, who believe in what we're doing and get really excited to see us grow and continue to develop new products,” said Braam.

Throughout its four years of business, Yonder Cider has been reshaping the beverage industry, from breaking down misconceptions of cider, to rethinking how it's sold.

The cider company adds about 20 percent of cider fruit, or fruit that is too tart for eating, to its ciders, which can create tart and tannic flavors that can win over cider-skeptics. Braam says she’s even able to offer a few flavors for those who prefer to drink IPA beer.

“The opportunity to change people's perception on cider is just such a fun and exciting aspect of what we do,” said Braam.

However, Yonder Cider’s beginning may be even more unique than its flavors. The brand started in Seattle, during the peak of the pandemic. Unable to open a traditional taproom, Braam opened the Yonder Bar out of her garage, where people could walk up and purchase to-go packs.

“It really put us on the map because people could discover it in a time when there wasn't a lot of things to discover,” said Braam. 

Braam had clearance from municipal authorities to run the bar, but it was still a gray area. An unhappy neighbor complained to the zoning department, and the Yonder Bar was at risk of shutting down. 

However, Braam worked with the City Council to implement the Bringing Business Home bill to loosen restrictions on home businesses during the pandemic, such as Yonder Bar. The bill allowed new business owners to try out their concepts without the expensive and risky commitment of a commercial lease, and is still in place years later.

“It just really pulls down some of the barriers to entry for people that have really beautiful and amazing ideas to start their businesses,” said Braam.

When taprooms returned, the success of Yonder Bar helped Braam open a taproom in Ballard, alongside Bale Breaker Brewing. However, Braam still had ideas of opening another taproom closer to the source. With Side Street opening, Yonder Cider found the opportunity.

The new taproom, referred to as Yonder East, will be set in a 3,900 square foot open basement inside Side Street Cashmere, with Brassbound Collective, an incoming coffee shop, and a stage overlooking the space. Outside, it will offer a 2,500 square foot gathering area with firepits and food trucks.

“[It’s] kind of an extension of a public gathering space, and Cashmere doesn’t really have anything like that here,” said General Manager Alli Steblina.

In contrast to its light and bright Ballard taproom, which Braam describes as having a “1970’s Palm Springs vibe,” Yonder East will have a “70’s basement vibe,” decorated with vintage mid-century modern furniture, exposed brick, and wood paneling.

“It just shows that you don't have to put your brand into one box, and you can show different sides of it depending on the space and the people and the location. I think what we did in Ballard works for there, and what we're doing in Cashmere works for here really beautifully,” said Braam.

The taproom will feature 15 different ciders, showcasing a variety of limited editions, single varietals, and seasonals. For non-cider drinkers, three Washington-made beers and a selection of non-alcoholic options will be made available. The location will also sell Yonder Cider Co. to-go options and merchandise.

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media

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