Coming soon: Cider made in Durham

Apr. 11, 2014 @ 03:34 PM

Bull City Ciderworks setting up shop: Durham-based Bull City Ciderworks is looking to start sales of locally made cider within a few weeks.

A group of five home brewers and cider-makers – who also were friends from school or from childhood -- are teaming up to launch the venture.

John Clowney, one of the five partners, said they started tasting cider, as well as making it, and then got good at it (making cider, that is).

They see an opportunity for ciders in North Carolina, which has a sizable craft beer industry, but a smaller craft cider business, said another partner, Ben Ingold, who is an Atlanta-based attorney and a former Durham resident.

“There’s some other cideries in North Carolina, but not nearly as many craft cideries as craft breweries,” Ingold said. “People are really starting to pick back up on their liking cider; the amount of people who are being educated on cider now, and are actually enjoying the product, is increasing. We wanted to be one of the people giving a great product at a great price.”

They’re trying to keep their ingredient list simple by sticking to apples and yeast and are also looking to source apples from a farm in North Carolina.

They have three ciders to start: Their flagship product is called Off Main, they have a sweet cider called Sweet Carolina, and a dry cider called Brightleaf.

Their tanks are already installed in space at 113 S. Elizabeth Street downtown close to Golden Belt. They’re projecting starting the production process next week and having cider ready for sales by May.

Alongside Bull City Ciderworks, Sourwood Brewing is another local cider-maker in the area. The company’s flagship product, Iðunn's Apples, is made at a winery in Pittsboro, but the company’s office is in Durham.

Sourwood owner Deniz Chen said his product is a dry, wine-style cider made simply with North Carolina apples, yeast and carbonation. His product is selling at Total Wine, Sam’s Quik Shop and Sam’s Bottle Shop, at Fullsteam Brewery and Geer Street Garden.


New craft beer, beer growler shops: The number of craft beer retail stores with plans to sell beer in re-usable jugs called growlers is on the upswing thanks to a state law that passed last summer.

The law that passed last year allows retail merchants to sell beer in growlers, which are jug-like, re-sealable containers.

The idea is that by selling beer in growlers, retailers can give consumers more direct access to fresh, craft micro-brews that may not be available in cans or bottles yet or that were prepared in smaller batches.

That’s because equipment and labor needed to package beer in bottles or cans is an added cost for breweries, and the smaller craft beer-makers may not have the resources to do that yet. So breweries can now not only distribute draft beer in kegs to restaurants or bars, but also to shops that allow growler sales.

A new store called Growler Grlz plans to open this spring off Hope Valley Road in Southern Durham shopping center that also houses City Beverage (across from Woodcroft Shopping Center).

Also in South Durham, another shop called The Glass Jug is slated to open in August in a shopping center off N.C. 55 that also houses Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse and Sarah’s Empanadas. Called Greenwood Commons, the shopping center is also the location of the South Durham Farmers’ Market on Saturday.

The store is looking to set itself apart by using counter-pressure filling technology that, according to the release, is typically only used by breweries. The technology allows for the beer to be stored at longer periods of time and art a higher quality.

“We want to make sure consumers have the best possible experience with their craft beer, and the only way to ensure that level of quality is to fill growlers using counter-pressure,” said Chris Creech, co-founder of The Glass Jug.

And in downtown Durham, a shop called Beer Durham is set to open this summer at 404 Hunt St. in the Measurement Building downtown.

The building is adjacent to the Durham Farmers Market and Durham Central Park, and is one block south of the Durham Athletic Park. It’s primarily occupied by the educational testing firm Measurement Inc.

Beer Durham co-owner Ashley Lemons said the state law passed last year was “pivotal” in their decision to open a craft beer store and growler-filling shop.

“There are so many beers that are available that are not bottled or going into cans,” she said. “This is a way for people to have them and enjoy them at home … (and) it’s in an environmentally friendly way to get them as well.”


Northgate update: Northgate Mall’s Cinnamonster is re-locating in May to the former Dairy Queen site, adding 239 square feet to their existing square footage.

In addition to serving cinnamon rolls and ICEE drinks, the operator of the mall’s Cinnamonster will also be selling soft serve ice cream and yogurt.

Also at the mall, the Kids Foot Locker is now open in an expanded location in what the mall is calling its “Children’s Alleyway.”

Also open this month is Raye’s Prom Dresses and Scarves, a seasonal shop that will be open through June 4 selling prom dresses and scarves.

In May, a small fashion accessories and Asian-inspired art jobs store Oriental Jewelry & Accessories is opening up.


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