When Brian and Christina Callahan opened their winery in 2011, the collection of commercial buildings in Woodinville seemed like the perfect spot. Clustered among dozens of other boutique wineries, the Callahans’ business fit right in.
But when they changed from wine to cider a few years later, the location was less than ideal. Tucked back off the main road, the tiny taproom among other nondescript commercial buildings didn’t attract customers who wanted to imbibe in a pleasant atmosphere.
They’re hoping a move north is the perfect tonic.
Elemental Hard Cider plans to relocate to Arlington, in a building near the airport, which will give the Callahans an opportunity to create a comfortable and inviting taproom and increased room for fermenters and other cider-making equipment. The goal is to be open May 1.
“This is a big move for us,” said Brian Callahan during a recent chat. “We have a great relationship with the breweries up there (Skookum and Whitewall), and it’s going to allow us to continue to grow.”
The building, which is 17,000 square feet, will be just down the street from Skookum Brewery, off 180th Street. Elemental will be adding a number of 60-barrel fermenters to increase production, a large taproom and restaurant and a 1,500-square-foot outdoor patio. Brian said the taproom will be kid- and dog-friendly and will feature a pizza restaurant.
Along with a larger space and better storefront visibility, Brian said the move also has to do with basic economics.
“There’s a lot of growth up north, and the cost of square footage is so much cheaper,” Callahan said. “We’re paying nearly $1 per square foot currently, while in Arlington it will be 65 cents per square foot. That’s a big difference.”
The opportunity to move to a larger space is due to Elemental’s meteoric rise in popularity over the past few years. The Callahans started making small batches of cider while they were a winery and found they enjoyed the cider fans more than the wine connoisseurs.
“We really appreciated the more laid-back nature of hard cider compared to wine,” Brian Callahan said.
Elemental sold 5,000 barrels of cider last year — double what it did the previous year. With larger equipment in the new space and more on-premise sales in the taproom, Brian said the hope is to continue growing at a 20 to 25 percent clip.
Elemental hard cider is everywhere. The cidery’s products, including its “Carbon” Semi-Dry, “Oxygen” Pomegranate and “Calcium” Blood Orange, are on tap at dozens of breweries from Seattle to Arlington, and its six-packs are in large chain grocery stores like Safeway and Haggen.
“Breweries are starting to recognize that putting cider on tap helps them sell more beer,” Brian said. “It doesn’t take away from their beer sales. Customers now go out as groups, and there’s always someone in the group who wants cider or something other than beer.”
A pair of upcoming events will give people a chance to try Elemental’s goods. Kenmore’s Cairn Brewing is hosting Elemental for a tasting Sept. 6 and Elemental will host a table at this year’s Cider Summit Seattle on Sept. 7 and 8 in South Lake Union.
Back Mountain Blonde/Raspberry Blonde, Sound to Summit Brewing: Crisp and easy drinking blonde ale with a touch of bread character backed up by Meyer lemon hop notes. Raspberry Blonde made with 80 pounds of raspberry puree. Available on tap at the brewery.
Gone A’Rye Hazy Rye, Sound to Summit Brewing/Haywire Brewing: A collaboration with these two Snohomish breweries boasts more than 20 percent rye malt in the grain bill. Big flavors of orange and grapefruit. Available on tap at the brewery.
Punch, Skookum Brewery: Oats and wheat in the mash give this beer a light body and soft finish, while Nelson Sauvin and Kohatu hops give it aromas of white grapes, salmon berries, honeysuckle and citrus. Available on tap at the brewery.
Elemental Hard Cider, Woodinville
Style: Hard cider infused with strawberry and lime
Stats: 6.5 percent ABV
Available: On tap at the cidery, Snohomish’s Josh’s Taps & Caps, Kirkland’s Flatstick Pub and Seattle’s Schilling Hard Cider.