Brick River Cider Co. to Open in Old Downtown Firehouse

Brick River Cider Co. to Open in Old Downtown Firehouse
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St. Louis’ First Cidery to Open this Fall – Brick River Cider Co.

ST. LOUIS, MO/June 30, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Anyone in the St. Louis area who is a fan of hard cider will be excited to learn that the city’s first cider brewery is set to open in downtown St. Louis this fall.  The Brick River Cider Company will be located in a restored firehouse at 2000 Washington Avenue.  Old firehouse 32, which had been abandoned and fallen to disrepair, is being renovated, and will include the cidery, plus a restaurant and a bar with an open cider tap.

Brick River will make hard cider, an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of pressed apples.  It’s made on every continent, with regional variations galore.  It can run from fairly sweet to very dry, with ABUs ranging from 1.5 to more than 12. Although hard cider was a popular beverage among colonialists, it fell to the temperance axe during Prohibition. (Temperance advocates actually chopped down and burned cider apple orchards to keep hard cider out of reach.)  Unlike beer, hard cider didn’t bounce back after Prohibition was repealed.  So, it’s not as popular in the US today as in other countries, especially the UK and Spain.  But American cider is beginning to see a resurgence.

Brick River Cider Co. owner Russ John has experience home-brewing cider.  John’s family has owned apple orchards in Nebraska for decades, so cider isn’t exactly new terrain for him.  He’s also bringing local craft brewery veteran Evan Hiatt to lead Brick River Cider Co.’s cidery team.  Evan Hiatt has a hefty resume and brings quite a bit of experience to Brick River because of his previous work in the St. Louis area craft brewery industry.  Hiatt was brewmaster and co-founder of Six Row Brewing Co. until its closing in 2015 and he served as brewmaster at Pappo’s Pizzeria & Brew Co. until it closed last spring.  He’ll be the cider master at Brick River.

John says he hopes to be open by Halloween at the latest, if summer construction stays on schedule—which it has.  This month, the city of St. Louis lent a helping hand to Brick River’s development.  On Thursday June 8th, a city board approved a federal Economic Development loan of $150,000 with a five-year term to help fund the almost two-million dollar project.  John will used the cash to buy equipment for Brick River.  The building dates back to 1892, so John is really saving a piece of city history as well as bringing the city its first cider-based restaurant.

When it opens this fall, Brick River will not only be the first dedicated cider brewery in St. Louis history, but it will actually be the first dedicated cidery in Missouri.  This is kind of a big deal.  If you’re as excited about St. Louis making cider history as I am, or if you’re just scouting for a bite to eat and something wonderfully new to wash it down with, then keep Brick River in mind in the coming months because it just might be your favorite new restaurant this fall.


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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon is an experienced writer, editor, and broadcast journalist with a strong news background. She’s worked in radio and television news, and for national and international newswire services.

She began her career in public radio while still a student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (where she earned a B.A. in Communications). She soon made the jump to news/talk radio, handling assignments from field reporting, airborne traffic, and news anchor, to producing and hosting daily talk shows. She’s also worked in television, most recently as the inaugural producer for The Allman Report on KDNL-TV 30, and as a news writer and reporter for national and international newswire services.