Duluth’s local cider scene is continuing to grow this spring with the arrival of Wild State Cider, situated in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, home to Duluth Cider, Ursa Minor Brewing, and Bent Paddle Brewing Company.
Wild State Cider is a collaboration between longtime friends Adam Ruhland and Andrew Price, who first met in 2008 as counselors at Mountain Camp in California, near Lake Tahoe. These two themes—friendship and the great outdoors—comprise the ethos of their new cidery.
Ruhland, who currently works full-time in digital marketing, has been thinking about opening a business of his own for years. He discovered cider while living in Vermont, where a sandwich board put up by a local establishment, Citizen Cider, caught his attention. He was intrigued by the company and tracked their growth as they expanded from a small space to multi-state distribution and a cidery in downtown Burlington.
“I saw cider becoming a known category,” he says. “We moved out here [to Minnesota] and I saw that cider wasn’t as big; I would say it is five years behind what was going on in the Northwest and Northeast.”
When he moved to Minneapolis with his wife in 2014, Adam began researching the possibility of opening a cidery of his own. A year ago, in early 2018, he actively began looking for property, all the while talking with Price, who lived in Grand Marais at the time, working as the assistant brewer at Voyageur Brewing. The duo eventually decided on the old Parson’s Electric building on West Superior Street in Duluth. Renovations on the space began in August and included much of the interior being demolished to allow for the installation of all-new plumbing and electrical systems and a 6,000-gallon-capacity tank system, which arrived in December.
Currently, about 4,500 square feet of the cavernous building is being utilized for production and a taproom, which includes a mezzanine where visitors can relax and play games. About 6,000 square feet is still available out back and will eventually be used for extra production and canning.
Price is the head cidermaker. His interest in both beer and cider began as a homebrewer, where he experimented with both. He spent three years honing his craft as the assistant brewer of Voyageur Brewing, starting there six months after they opened. He gave his notice at Voyageur in the summer of last year and has since been developing the recipes for Wild State’s first ciders, bringing the sensibilities of a brewer to something exciting and new.
“A lot of the equipment is fairly similar, so that was an easy change-over,” he says. The process is not the same, however. “On the brewing side, you’re really making an individual beer. With cider—our model—we’re making a base and blending it after to make the product we want.”
Post-fermentation is when the adjuncts are added, which can range from different fruit juices to herbs and various spices.
There will be at least four ciders on tap for their grand opening on April 16, including semi-dry, dry ginger, dry-hopped, and pear. Also in the works are dry oak and raspberry hibiscus rosé varieties. The ultimate goal will be to fill all 12 taps with a rotating selection, including seasonal ciders such as a maple variety, which Adam hinted at. Andrew would like to try his hand at more fruited varieties, as well as perry (made from fermented pear juice instead of apples).
As for the future, the duo plans to begin working with a mobile canner soon after opening. They will also work on renovating the extra space out back for a canning line and increased production over the next few years. First thing’s first, though: they want people to visit and try their cider. “We would like to build out and establish ourselves as a welcoming place that makes good cider,” Adam says.
Cidermaker: Andrew Price
Soft Opening: Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Grand Opening: April 26–27, 2019
Cider: Semi-dry, Dry Ginger, Dry-hopped, and Pear
Address: 2515 W. Superior St., Duluth, MN 55806
Hours: Tue–Thu: 2pm–10pm; Fri: 2pm–11pm; Sat: 12pm–11pm; Sun: 12pm–8pm