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New Discovery in town

by R. HANS MILLER
Managing Editor | October 11, 2023 6:41 PM

EPHRATA — A building on Basin Street will soon be home to a new business in Ephrata, the Discovery Cider Company.

“So, initially, we opened a cidery on the west side, in Tacoma,” said Brennan James, who owns the cidery with his wife, Berlyn Sandstrom. “We opened it as Tin Hat Cider Company, and it started because I just liked cider.”

What had started out as a hobby grew into a small business, which grew into a larger business with a bit of a speakeasy style, James said. However, the location wasn’t quite what the couple was looking for and they already had the site in Ephrata. So, they shuttered things in Tacoma and made the move east. They had considered having someone else utilize the Ephrata location or open up a second location, but moving the operation to Ephrata was overall just more cost-effective.

James said he and Sandstrom are excited for the future in Ephrata. They’ll offer five or six ciders they produce, but they’re also looking at two or three guest beers and the same number of guest wines — preferably locally produced – that they can share with patrons. He’s hoping that a partnership can be reached with Beaumont Cellars or Chris Daniel Winery, both out of Quincy, to provide a local wine selection.

He’s excited for a soft opening as a location for the Ephrata Chamber of Commerce’s Wine Walk set for Oct. 21 from 4-7 p.m. as well. The event will serve as a chance for the public to visit with him and Sandstrom while they serve samples of wine.

“People will get a chance to come in and see it before we actually open,” James said. “We won’t be selling anything – it’ll just be tasters from the nonprofit wine walk.”

James said the business has already joined the Ephrata Chamber and with family in the area, the couple hopes to be involved in the community as well.

To draw people out, James said the business will be family-friendly with weekend-only hours initially. While the hours haven’t been set in stone, the plan is to open at certain times on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then adjust those times as they see how the crowd flows in and out.

After the opening next month, the goal is to have live music either every Friday or every other Friday for patrons to enjoy while sampling a cold cider. The shop will also have rotating food trucks coming through to ensure visitors can enjoy a variety of cuisines.

James isn’t sure how many jobs the cidery might bring to the community just yet. He and his wife will be running it for the most part, but as an Army National Guard member, he’ll need to take time away for training and deployments from time to time, so a part-time helper may be needed. While he’s away serving as a military policeman, something he’s been doing for about five years, he wants to make sure the business is on solid ground.

An official opening is set for November 11, James said. On that day, the pair intends to have live music — featuring Marley Mitchell — and will have games available for folks to play.

“We’re going to have cornhole and that kind of thing on the front side over here,” James said. “Stuff like that for outside during the summer.”

R. Hans Miller may be reached at editor@columbiabasinherald.com.

Discovery Cider Company

237 Basin Street NW

Ephrata, WA 98823

253-273-9849

DiscoveryCider@gmail.com

Facebook.com/DiscoveryCiderCo

Tentative hours:

Fri., Sat: 4-8 p.m.

Sun. noon-5 p.m.

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R. HANS MILLER/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

When patrons enter the cidery, they’ll have the opportunity to sit in a well-lit lounge. While they’re there, visitors can enjoy a variety of locally-produced adult beverages and play a board game or two.

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R. HANS MILLER/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Discovery Cider Company’s building at 237 Basin Street NW in Ephrata is looking spruced up after Brennan James and his wife – and cidery co-owner – Berlyn Sandstrom have put in work to repair a broken window and done other work to give the business a bit more curb appeal.

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R. HANS MILLER/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Brennan James stands in front of the cidery’s business sign inside the cidery lounge. The watering hole will have a selection of board games for patrons to enjoy as well as a variety of outdoor games in the business’s yard.