Arizona really wants to drink great cider. As it celebrates its three-year anniversary this month, Cider Corps announces it will expand to Gilbert with a new cidery designed for growth. Starting in mid-2021, all production of its craft ciders will take place in a 14,000-square-foot facility sitting on 2.5 acres of property at 685 S. Gilbert Rd. Its Downtown Mesa location will remain open as a taproom.
Cider Corps co-owners and brothers Josh Duren and Jason Duren, Sgt. USMC (Ret.) explain the property gives them the ability to make more ciders to share throughout the state and educate people about the craft beverage.
“Our immediate goal is to ramp up production to be able to share our ciders with even more people in Arizona,” said Josh Duren. “As we grow, it’s nice to have kind of a blank page of space that can evolve as we do, and that can adapt as life beyond the pandemic does.”
The Gilbert facility includes an 11,500-square-foot main building with a front room that will be open to the public for take away sales. This entry space will also house the canning line, allowing visitors to see the packaging in action. A second 2,500-square-foot stand-alone building will serve as cold storage.
Cider Corps will move all its existing production equipment to the Gilbert spot in addition to upgrading its fermentation tanks. The new set up allows for a 1,000 barrel production capacity – nearly tripling its current abilities.
When the time is right, the Durens plan to open the cidery to tours and other events to help people learn more about cider making and the variety of cider flavor profiles.
Cider Corps creates a range of craft cider styles that infuse fruits, botanicals and spices with its hard apple cider. As lead cidermaker, Jason Duren has created specialized fermentation techniques to reduce the tartness of the apples for flavors that are smooth and balanced without added sugars or sulfates.
This move will be the second expansion for Cider Corps. The veteran-owned craft cidery opened its doors on Veterans Day in 2017 in Downtown Mesa. In 2019 it expanded into neighboring space to add another 2,000 square feet to its production area.
The cidery had already begun to can its products when the taproom closed in March due to pandemic stay-at-home directives. It now has three flagship styles available by the 4-pack at Whole Foods, AJ’s Fine Foods and Total Wine and more than a dozen rotating styles available for take away from the Mesa taproom
Cider Corps reopened the taproom to limited seating this month, and Jason Duren says that throughout the pandemic, the cidery continued to be a destination as people picked up new and favorite styles. Duren says Cider Corps’ dedicated regulars helped influence the decision to expand in Gilbert.
“We get a ton of people from the East Valley, Gilbert and beyond, who make the trek to the taproom. We’re really excited about being closer for them” he said. “But I’m just as excited about being able to grow and create more ciders for all of Arizona.”