How Did Tumalo Cider Co. Get Its Start?

The Tumalo Cider House was built from the ground up by it’s brewer, Kelly Roark, with the help of friends and family.  Kelly has been brewing cider out of his home since 2007 creating a cider that is authentic, distinct and loved amongst the Bend, community.  “I started years ago filling up trash cans with free apples I would find growing around town (Bend, Or.).  I pressed them with friends and created home brew apple cider. At first I did this in my quest for a sustainable lifestyle but then I realized that it was also a creative outlet where I could use my love for science and cider while bringing the community together.” Kelly would like to try his hand at growing his own apples here in Central Oregon and using them in the cider but for now he sources apples solely from Oregon.

“I wanted to create a well balanced hard cider that has the richness of a beer with the complexities of a wine.  A unique cider that has pleasant apple notes on the nose, yet is tart and spicy on the palate with only hints of sweet.”

Jeff Bennett, a local entrepreneur, also had an interest in hard cider and was looking for someone like Kelly he could partner with in a new business venture. A friend introduced the two of them knowing of Jeff’s business background and his search for a good hard cider. From there, a creative collaboration began and the idea of the Tumalo Cider CO. was born.  Jeff has been working behind the scenes to tackle the business formalities such as licensing, logos, ordering equipment and miscellaneous paper work. He has also provided invaluable input into the creative side of brewing.  Together Jeff and Kelly have brought this dream to life.

When thinking about where the cider could be made in larger batches, renting an industrial space just didn’t sit well. Kelly wanted a place to remind him of the love, intention and good energy that he wanted to put into the cider.  He didn’t want to just hire someone to build a cidery either. He wanted it to be a project in which many people could participate and learn.  Friends and family came from all over and worked some long, dirty, but fulfilling hours building and creating new friendships. Contractors and businesses around town offered their knowledge and time to support Tumalo Cider Co. Although the cidery is just beginning to flow, the community has shown immense support through the whole process.

The Tumalo Cider House is an interesting and green structure in that the walls are made of pumice-crete, a “green” resource coming from our local volcanic lava and pioneered by the ancient Romans.  The roof is a living roof design that has the potential for sanitary water catchment. The building design focuses on thermodynamics and features large south facing windows to help harness the suns abundant energy. Solar and wind energy are future plans for the building and Kelly hopes it will be an example of realistic commercial development in and around Central Oregon.

The energy, passion and drive Kelly has put into building the cidery is just the beginning of what is to come. “I am really excited to see the Tumalo Cider Co. grow up with such an amazing community backing it, we feel so loved and supported already!”