Since its inception, Seattle’s Yonder Cider represented something a little different in the cider industry. Its entire approach to the cider biz was a little different. Its long-since-closed neighborhood bar, Yonder Bar, was a little different. When it partnered with Bale Breaker Brewing to open a jointly operated taproom in Seattle’s Ballard Brewery District, well that was a little different too.
Yonder Cider of Seattle and The Source Cider of Wenatchee recently announced a merger deal. The two companies are now one. The thing is, they’ve always been joined at the hip in a familial relationship which is another part of that “little different” thing I was talking about. Now the two entities are officially merged as one with an eye on expansion, perhaps even on the national level.
But that ain’t all. The newly formed company, like The Source Cider before it, will continue to offer opportunities and services to other cider brands in Washington. There’s a lot of innovation and forward-thinking in this arrangement, as there has been since the very beginning when the concept for Yonder Cider was first hatched.
Here is the press release announcing the merger.
Yonder Cider and The Source Cider Announce Merger to Expand Capacity & Growth within the National Cider Landscape
The Seattle and Wenatchee-based sister companies combine forces with expanded production and access to cider-specific fruit from the heart of America’s apple country
SEATTLE & WENATCHEE, WA (March 30, 2023) – Yonder Cider and The Source Cider, now owned and operated solely by founder and CEO Caitlin Braam, have officially joined forces. The merger was finalized earlier this week, bringing the joint production capacity of Yonder Cider to 600,000 gallons per year. Pressing more than 3 million pounds of apples in 2022 and an expected 4.2 million pounds in 2023, the newly merged Yonder Cider will support its own brand’s growth while simultaneously working with other producers from across the country to provide juice, custom fermentation and easier access to cider fruit.
“United, we can do so much more,” said Braam. “When we started, Yonder was a case study for The Source. Proof that you could start a brand with very little startup capital, prove your concept and pursue smart growth. But as both companies have expanded, we’ve realized that with our resources combined, we can support more orchards and farmers, work with more cideries and further support the cider market – all while growing Yonder as a brand.”
Launched in August 2020, Yonder has quickly gone from neighborhood darling to one of the fastest growing cider brands in the Pacific Northwest, despite the challenges of the pandemic. Growing 240% in 2022, Yonder is expected to produce an estimated 175,000 gallons in 2023, with Head Cidermaker Monique Tribble at the helm. Consistently finding ways to innovate – whether it be through its infamous Yonder Bar, its shared Seattle taproom in partnership with Bale Breaker Brewing, or innovative collaborations – Yonder has no plans of slowing down, with its sights set on expansion to two new states and a second taproom close to its home in Wenatchee. Braam has also seen her share of recognition since the launch, including Seattle Metropolitan Top 100 Most Influential People, Imbibe 75 and most recently, Puget Sound Business Journal 40 Under 40.
Up until the merger, The Source Cider produced Yonder’s cider, made possible with a shared facility and staff in Wenatchee. Similar to “custom crush” models now commonly found in wine, The Source was started to reduce the barrier to entry for cideries and facilitate growth for companies of all sizes, while increasing quality through premium juice and custom fermentation. Pressing all of its own fruit, The Source pressed more than 3 million pounds of apples in 2022, including 327,000 pounds and more than 20 varieties of cider specific apples, known for their aromatic, tannic nature and coveted by cidermakers around the world. Producing 240,000 gallons in 2022 – 50 percent of which was dedicated to Yonder – The Source has now worked with more than 50 cideries, wineries and breweries from across the country in its two and a half years in business, offering everything from single varietals and custom blends to juice and co-packing.
“Closing The Source wasn’t even an option,” added Braam. “It doesn’t die with the merger, it only gets stronger. While we now have our own brand in Yonder, I’ve spent my entire career helping build other brands – whether it be through marketing, branding or production. The merger just reinforces my long term goal for the companies and support of the cider industry.”
According to the latest research study, the demand of the cider market accounted for $4.8 billion in 2020 and is estimated to be $6.3 billion by 2030. Furthermore, as cited by Nielsen Media Research, in 2022, regional cider brands were on the rise, while national cider brands saw a decline. In the Pacific Northwest specifically, regional cider is up 13.3 percent, according to recent IRI data (from the last 13 weeks ending in Jan), with regional cideries like Yonder Cider and custom fermentation models like The Source Cider driving the growth.