Ash & Elm Cider Co.

Rooted in Tradition. Crafted for Today.

Deciding to Start a Cidery

A lot of people ask us why we decided to start a business focused on cider. It’s off the beaten path just enough to assume there’s a reason other than, ‘We like it.’ To be honest, it’s true. Here’s how we came to the idea of starting Indianapolis’ first dedicated hard-cider company.

Like a lot of other cider-makers around the States, Aaron found his way to cider via the craft beer world. He went to grad school in the mid-2000s near San Francisco. While the craft beer boom hadn’t really hit in Indianapolis at that time, it was big business on the West Coast, and Aaron jumped in full-force, seeking out different beers and starting to homebrew. He moved back to Indianapolis in 2006 with a couple years of brewing under his belt and a desire to open a brewery. But, like a lot of other people, he had student loans and bills to worry about, so it wasn’t an option. A few years later, when craft beer started to pick up steam in Indy, he again had fantasies of opening a brewery, but wasn’t able to convince himself to take the risk.

Around that time,  Aaron and I got together. Aaron realized that, while he loved craft beer, his interest in exploring other beverages had grown. I was game for an adventure, and we brainstormed what skills we each had, what would be a good business idea, and what we were interested in. A few years before, we'd traveled to Ireland and had a cider unlike anything we'd ever had in the States, opening our eyes to the possibilities of different styles. We’d already been making wine, and added cider to the mix too. As we brainstormed about their business ideas in the spring of 2014, cider quickly rose to the top. The growth in the industry over the last couple years around the US was incredible, the skills from brewing beer and making wine transferred well to making cider, and, important to both of us, apple trees grow well in Indiana, meaning not only could we make a truly local product, we could support farmers in our community through the business. And of course, the fact that cider is delicious and we still had so much more to learn about it got us excited about the challenge ahead.

What followed were months of research: drinking as many ciders from around the world we could get their hands on and making batch after batch to perfect our recipes. We took trip to cider hotspots like Portland, Seattle, and Michigan. We visited local orchards to talk with farmers about their perspectives. We conducted market research. Each step along the way, all signs pointed to this being the right business idea at the right time.

It’s been a whirlwind trip already, and we haven’t even opened yet. We hope you’ll join us on the next phase of our journey!

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