matterhorn spring 2013
Local Cider Company Ready to Release First Batch Interview by Todd Simmons Branch Out Cider began as a hobby in the backyard of friends Matt Fater and Aaron Fodge in 2007. The two made an annual tradition of pressing cider from their trees and a few neighbors. One year turned into two which turned into three, and each year the end result, hard cider, or apple wine, drew more and more neighbors out of their houses, and into the trees to contribute their own apples to what was now a neighborhood operation. “We started mapping trees in Old Town, just to get an idea of how many trees there might be, to see if there was a business idea in this,” said Aaron Fodge. After riding their bikes around, and realizing that Old Town was loaded with old apple trees, the two began to get more serious about their idea: that they would be able to get enough people to donate their apples that they could make into hard cider to sell. Fater continues, “The Monfort College of Business [Entrepreneurial Challenge] competition came rolling around and we said, let’s do it. We came in 2nd, won $10,000, and turned it into the equipment that is downstairs.” They converted his basement into their home-based cidery, and are now in the final stages of blending and bottling their first batch of hard cider. “Our goal with what we’ve been making is a traditional dry cider that’s fairly pure—using 100% juice, not adding water back in at the end, or cutting fermentation early,” said Fater. People who donated will have the first opportunity, at a discounted price, to purchase the hard cider. After that, the two plan on selling locally at farmer’s markets, and maybe a few bars and restaurants. “It’s been fun. It was fun watching people come together around these trees,” Fodge said. “A lot of people wanted to pick with us, and they felt good that the apples were getting put to good use. There are agricultural opportunities within an urban environment. For us, the opportnities are, ‘Can we convince people to join our Community Orchard, where we don’t have to buy the land, we just have to maintain a relationship with really good people? Can we maintain these trees and encourage people to plant more?’ This could be one way to keep agriculture local in an urban environment.” Find out more at www.branchoutcider.com.
Branch Out Cider, of course.