Ever since Bull City Ciderworks moved from their first location in May, 2016 to make room for Durham police headquarters, cider enthusiasts have been waiting for their re-opening in a new location on the corner of S. Roxboro and Dillard Street. Ciderworks has the back half of the building (it’s yet to be determined who will lease the front two spaces, fingers crossed it’s food-related!).
Moving into a new space is always a big undertaking and there have been many delays beyond their control, causing the hopeful opening date to be pushed back almost a whole year beyond what they would have preferred, but they are so close now you can almost taste it! The first step is the opening of the taproom and bar.
Owner/Executive Cidermaker, Ryan Bogard, talks in depth about what the new space means for cider in the Bull City: “The Exploratorium will be our pilot batch facility that explores all things cider – old world, modern American, barrel-aged cider and more. The goal is to make Durham renowned the world around for cider, and education is a major component of that.”
Cider education and appreciation will be a “core” mission of the Exploratorium, but of course, this will all take some time to execute – months after the initial opening of the cider bar. “Most people share a common perception of hard cider being a sweet, sugary, apple flavored alcoholic beverage. However, an entire world of cider exists beyond those mainstream ciders,” Bogard explains.
Black Twig Ciderhouse has done a great job introducing ciders from around the U.S. and the world to Durham, and Ciderworks will be working closely with Mattie Beason of Black Twig, as well as other cider industry professionals and cidermakers from around the state, on a series of cider courses that will evolve over time.
“This series will explore a wide range of topics including cider apples and traits, orchard design and management, cidermaking, sensory evaluation, and cider-food pairings. The cider making courses will cover a range of experience levels for homebrewer/beginner and commerial. We’ll also offer cidery in planning courses for those interested in starting their own cider,” Bogard shares. “We would also like to expand upon our annual homebrew competition that provides local homebrewercs with fresh pressed apple juice that’s free of preservatives.”
After construction to the parking lot is complete and certificate of occupancy is attained, Bull City Ciderworks will be ready to roll! The grand opening will be scheduled for a later date so they can properly plan, and the Kickstarter Founders party will also be planned out in advance for those who will be traveling.
I took a sneak peek inside the facility last week. Rustic wooden tables and benches are stacked and ready to go; taps are waiting to flow; and the outdoor back deck is complete. With outdoor speakers, picnic tables, plans to host live bands and food trucks, and the construction of a fire pit, this space is going to be one cool hangout. They’ve also planned space for an herb garden to grow thyme, rosemary, ginger, hops and other ingredients, along with the first plantings of an urban apple orchard!
Comparatively, the new space will be a major upgrade from the old one: for one thing, it has heating and AC.
Good things come to those who wait. Everyone is excited about the return and the future of Bull City Ciderworks in Durham and the wait is almost over.