Two words: cider bar. That’s the new addition 3 Daughters Brewing has made to its St. Petersburg brewery and tasting room.
Besides being great news for folks looking to get their hands on more local cider, what else makes The Orchard, as it’s called, real neat? Well, variety. Patrons choose from a lineup of eight house ciders, including spicy cinnamon apple, dry, tropical and sweet tea, plus this food editor’s favorite — a cider dry-hopped with Summit hops.
“That’s a little homage to the beer lovers in the crowd,” said 3 Daughters Cider CEO John Erik Savitsky.
According to Savitsky, most of the ciders are based on the brewery’s original cider recipe (tea from New Dawn Coffee a couple blocks away is cold-brewed into the OG formula for the sweet tea cider, for example). 3 Daughters, whose cider bar formally opened July 1, is working with an ever-growing selection of around 25 different recipes, and a few offerings in development for the cider operation’s 150-barrel fermenter are ginger apple, pineapple and coffee.
There’s even a coming-soon creation called a “mimos-cider,” which blends a Champagne yeast cider base with orange juice to pull off exactly what you’re thinking.
“Our brewers are all chefs, so they all have sophisticated palates,” he said. “They’re always coming up with new ideas.”
3 Daughters has carried bottled cider from brands such as Magners and Woodchuck since the doors opened in 2013. Tapping into cider was a goal from the start, as Savitsky tells it, but doing so didn’t make sense in the beginning because the focus was on getting the beer side going. After realizing how well-received other people’s ciders were in the tasting room, it was time.
Good thing, too. In Pinellas and Hillsborough, cider is now the second best-selling product in kegs for the 3 Daughters family (Beach Blonde Ale is the first). Bartenders at area restaurants and bars are using the stuff for cocktails like the TequiLime Cider, tequila on the rocks topped with the popular key lime cider. And cans for key lime and original are on their way.
The Orchard itself has increased the brewery’s average sale of about 650 cider pints per week.
“Since we opened the cider bar, it’s been an average of 1,400 pints a week,” Savitsky said, adding that the idea is to roll out a seasonal program with kegs before expanding into other canned ciders.
“We’re working on getting a sense of what is going to be most popular, and then eventually we’ll put other things out in kegs and cans,” he said. “But right now there’s no specific plan.”
To find 3 Daughters’ Orchard, head outside to the games-filled production area, where the bar is open Friday through Sunday, as well as for special events. If customers know what they want outside cider bar hours, their tasting room bartender can also fetch them a glass, no problem.