With 2016 right around the corner, we are looking back at what happened in 2015 at Rootwood Cider Company.
1. Apple Blossom - during Manson's 95th Apple Blossom festival, we publicly announced our plans to bring a cider taproom to 45 Wapato Way. Handing out apples, seeing old faces, making new friends, all while watching the little town of Manson buzzing with community spirit.
2. Taproom Design - with the announcement of our cider brand, we immediately got to work transforming the blank slate that would become our taproom. White walls, white floors, and empty space would soon be outfitted with elements that reflected the Rootwood vision. The decades of apple growing in our family allowed us to incorporate many artifacts and materials in to the space, such as a prop wall, apple picking bags, apple boxes, and even branches that complete light fixtures.
3. Hailstorm - the folks at Orondo Ciderworks have coined a pretty clever phrase. "When it all goes to hail, make cider." During the afternoon of May 29th, Manson was hit with one of the most intense hailstorms of recent memory. What started as a warm day sunny day, progressed to thunderstorms, rain, and eventually hail. Needless to say, the 10 minutes of nickel size hail caused an amazing amount of damage to local crops, rendering many orchards unable to be harvested at all. We made the best of the situation, and were very choosy about what was harvested. The apples going in to the next few batches of cider aren't pretty, but they sure ferment well!
4. Wildfires - During a dry year with low snowpack, our region was was hit with an early morning thunderstorm, sparking several intense wildfires. By the end of the day, fires had taken several homes, and continued to ravage the region for several weeks. The Lake Chelan Valley and greater North Central Washington has continued to cope with the emotional and physical scars of the Chelan Complex fires, and we are encouraged to see so much snow in the mountains this winter.
5. First Pour - Smoke and ash filled the air for weeks. Our houses, cars, and clothes were perpetually covered. But one morning in late August, a welcome rainstorm helped quiet the fires, and it felt as though the sun was shining for the first time. Fresh air, blue skies, and clear Lake Chelan waters were back, and the mood of the valley changed. After such hectic summer, we pushed through the last remaining projects, and were thrilled to finally be able to open our doors on such a beautiful day. The next few weeks were (and continue to be) a wonderful mixture of local community members, and visitors to the valley.
As 2015 comes to a close, we would like to thank all of our family and friends, both old new new, for help getting the cidery off the ground. Additionally, we are so thankful to be a part of a positive, growing cider industry. Collaboration and mentorships have been integral, and much appreciated.
The new year will bring plenty of exciting updates at Rootwood Cider. Cheers!