Corner Kitchen, and Chestnut, partner with many local farmers and vendors. Featuring local products like, jams, honey, mustard, gluten free desserts, meats, milk, cream, cheeses, eggs, hot sauces, Beer, Cider and so much more is incredibly important to us. Why? Because it stimulates our local economy and it tastes GREAT!
This month we are showcasing Urban Orchard Cider Co. Here’s what owner, Thom Miller, has to say…
1. Give us the “origin story” for your operation
Our core family of Thom, Lori, Josie, Zach, Brody, and Shiloh (Josie’s husband at the time) wanted to start a family business that revolved around our family farm, and so we explored different ideas. A few of our family members are gluten free and in looking around for options for craft beverages, we soon realized that there were very few quality craft ciders. In 2012, after much deliberation, research and home trials, we ran with the idea to start a Cidery and purchased the building at 210 Haywood Road. While Thom and Brody renovated the building, Josie and Shiloh attended the Cider and Perry Academy in Hartpury, Gloucestershire, England. And thus Urban Orchard Cider Co. was born.
2. What is your list of products (within reason…)
We now offer, over the course of the year, a wide variety of ciders that we have created. That number is rapidly approaching 100 different and diverse offerings. We have categorized them into various classifications: Flagships, Lager Series, Hopped, Chili, Berry, Fruit and Herb, and Specialty Series. We also create collaborative ciders with some of our industry and local crafting partners.
3. Where is your distribution range? Asheville? Regional?
Our range is predominately in the Greater Asheville area although we do have vendors outside the area, as far as Raleigh, NC.
4. Who are the important people in your organization?
Obviously the family (without the commitment of all, we would have never started). That being said it truly takes a village. Josie is the driving force and the Head of Operations, as well as the Head Cider Maker. Lori is the CFO, I am Vice President and facilitator, Jeff Anderson is our Marketing and Creative Director, Greg Hill is Production Manager, and our niece, Katy Luquire, is Hospitality Manager. That being said we couldn’t have grown without the commitment and hard work of so many members of our staff.
5. Any anecdotes about your crew?
There are several anecdotes that center around opening Urban Orchard. We have stories about setting up our tanks with the help of our neighbors next door from Allied Wheel, and about the old used forklift that got us through our first year. One of our tanks was delivered near our home in Weaverville instead of to Haywood Road. We soon realized that in order to transfer it from the tractor trailer to our smaller trailer we had to build a scaffolding in the street. During the scramble to get materials, our son Brody was sitting on the forklift supporting one end of the tank, and the Weaverville police came by wondering what in blazes he was doing. So I had to hustle back with the shipping manifest and ID before they would let us resume our project.
6. What’s next for you and your company?
Our second location is currently under construction in downtown Asheville’s South Slope, at 24 Buxton Avenue. The West Asheville tasting room will continue to serve the WAVL community and be a strong contributor to the neighborhood. This addition comes from the need for more production space and will also contain a secondary tasting room.