How do you like them apples, St. Louis?
This fall, Brick River Cider will open downtown in a three-story building at 2000 Washington, as Sauce first reported yesterday. The craft cidery comes from Russ John, whose family has owned and operated a homestead farm and orchard in southeastern Nebraska for 160 years.
"I've been [making cider] at that level as long as I can remember," John says. "This is a new venture. And as far as I can tell, we're going to be the only guys in the region making fresh-pressed, Midwestern fruit cider."
Although some local breweries and wineries produce their own ciders, this craft cidery will be the first of its kind in St. Louis. The opening is about seven months away—John hopes by Halloween, but says it might be November. And Brick River already has about half a dozen orchards for fruit sourcing, including John's ("I was there planting more apple trees about two weeks ago," he adds). Some are a several hundred miles away. Some are as close as 30 minutes.
"And we're still adding more," John says. "Everybody talks about eating local. We're going to encourage people to drink local."
Brick River has been through the liquor permit process, and it officially closed its deal on the Washington building Thursday. Formerly an old firehouse, the building measures 12,000 square feet including all three floors. The space needs to be demoed and rehabbed, but John already has a layout in mind. He says the first floor, because of its load-bearing abilities, will be used for production and a small bar seating 30 to 40. The second floor will be a full-service restaurant and kitchen that will seat 100. A small elevator will be added for accessibility.
John isn't ready to announce some details yet, including his chef or the menu, but says they're "trying to use the same theme that we are in the cider...we're trying to be supportive of the local agricultural chain."