This is a question we are asked constantly. And it's probably the hardest question to answer. How do you describe how it all came together?
First of all - when we did start making cider, in our tiny living room in our townhouse in Stapleton, we never dreamed we would build it into a business. It was just a fun hobby that we enjoyed pursuing and a tasty drink that we enjoyed drinking.
Like any good story, we can't really pin down the exact moment when we decided to start making cider. We had some good friends who got into drinking cider right after we got married. We were hanging out with them and enjoyed drinking the cider they brought. We started looking for cider when we went to liquor stores. We tried various national brands, local brands, top shelf ciders, etc. We progressively went further and further down this cider road tasting amazing things. We tried unfiltered cider, flavored cider, pear cider (perry), and all sorts of things.
One day, Daniel popped up and said "you know, I think we could MAKE cider." It was not out of character. We had perfected a half sour pickle recipe, he made mozzarella, we grew a ton of food in our garden, he was an excellent cocktail creator... it was sort of an extension of our love for making delicious things. I remember the day, exactly, when we made our first batch. It was October 31, 2013. We bought pasteurized apple juice at a farmer's market and some yeast online somewhere... I'm not even sure how we picked the yeast. We put it up in a one gallon carboy (the glass containers that you can see behind our bar today), said good luck, and went about handing out candy to trick or treaters. In fact, I think we had friends over that night for some games and fun.
We circled back to the cider some time later and tasted it... it was AWFUL. Instead of dropping the idea (like I probably would have done), Daniel was even more motivated. He knew we could do better. He poured over cider books and read everything he could to try to make the cider better. We slowly got the hang of it. All along the goal was to make something I (Talia) enjoyed drinking.
At some point, Daniel realized that since no one could sell us unpasteurized juice, the only way we could get the best juice was to press it ourselves... and an old fashioned apple grinder and press showed up in my garage. We started creating relationships with local apple growers and buying incredible Colorado grown fruit. Our cider started getting exponentially better!
Concurrently to all of that, Daniel had a realization. Cider making is wine making, not brewing, so why isn't he thinking about this like a winemaker would... as he shifted his focus to winemaking with apples, the quality got better and better. People started requesting that we bring cider to parties. We were always showing up with our little red cooler. My living room was taken over by glass carboys and experimental batches. My garage was filled with apples and pressing equipment.
A couple of friends encouraged us to take our cider and enter it into competitions. We decided to just "try it out" and enter... And we won. We kept winning gold medals, best cider, best in class awards. We realized now that this could be a really good and viable product.
So that's the long version of how we got started!