Local Cider Makers Find a New Home in Bella Vista

Hale & True's Risa Zeller McKenzie and Kerry McKenzie plan to open their cidery and tasting room by the end of 2017.

Cider is a big-freakin’-deal this year. It maybe even bigger than beer (gasp!) if you consider the many cider-driven dinners happening all over the city (like Saté Kampar’s sambal/cheese/cider dinner and Good King’s Cider Suppers), and the new local labels popping up throughout the region (like Plougman Cider and Big Hill Ciderworks), not to mention the cideries opening here by the end of the year. Original 13 Ciderworks is scheduled to open in Kensington this summer, and Kurant is scheduled to open not too long after at 436 East Girard Avenue.

And now there’s Hale & True, opening a cidery and tasting room in Bella Vista at 613 South 7th Street — on the bottom floor of a brand new luxury apartment building, right across from The Good King Tavern — later this year.

As the story goes — and so often it goes like this — Risa Zeller McKenzie and Kerry McKenzie (newly married) started making cider in their Old City apartment. After their first batch, they got hooked and went nuts making batch after batch after batch, honing their craft, perfecting their recipes, even going as far as to earning certifications from the Cider and Perry Academy last year — all to “make better cider the standard,” says Kerry. “We’re setting out to change [its] reputation as a drink that’s too sweet or tastes like apple juice.”

So, gone are the days of spiked apple soda. Cider, just like beer or wine, can be a very nuanced experience, and the McKenzies plan to showcase the goods using everything from traditional fermentation processes to dry-hopped and fresh fruit infusions. Their apple juice will come fresh from Pennsylvania farms only, and they plan to keg on site.

The tasting room will seat 50 and serve H&T ciders (of course), plus other local ciders, beer, wine and spirits. Food-wise, it’ll be packaged snacks or BYO (some socca and charcuterie by The Good King’s Nicholas Bazik makes sense).

Planning for construction has already begun. Stay tuned for more closer to the opening.

MSC’s hospitality consultant Vincent Stipo brokered the deal.

 Hale & True [Official]