Turning apples into cider

Brownrigg Hard Cider opens new facility in Interbay last fall

After launching a new career as a professional cider maker and cidery owner over four years ago, single dad and West Seattle resident Chris Brownrigg is now growing his operations by moving to Interbay.

Brownrigg opened Brownrigg Hard Cider, his cidery and taproom, after moving from SODO, in the early fall, and he hopes the move will carry him to even greater heights as a cider maker.

The space is ideal, Brownrigg said because not only is it easy to find and has on-site parking, situated in a building complex at 945 Elliott Ave. W., it also houses a distillery, Skybound Spirits, and a restaurant, The Champagne Diner. The space used to be a cidery, so it came with “all the bells and whistles,” Brownrigg said. At 1,900 square feet, approximately 1,000 dedicated to the taproom, the space is 700 square feet bigger than his previous location in SODO.

“So this is a lot bigger and a lot nicer space than we’re used to,” he said.

In SODO, he was situated in a warehouse, south of the stadiums. After the leaseholder rented out another area of the warehouse to a wet dog-food producer, Brownrigg began looking for a bigger, less aromatic location.

“{The neighborhood} would just go through waves of sketchiness, but it was a good place to get started,” he said.

Not only does his new location have more room, it is on the way to Ballard, which has a number of cideries.

Brownrigg’s foray into owning his own business and making cider for a living is something he only considered doing after tiring of a career in communications working for Boeing.

He said he became discontent with his career, where he was always on call and which he found less and less rewarding, and began considering a new direction altogether.

After moving to property in West Seattle that had a small orchard, Brownrigg began as a backyard hobbyist, making ciders and wines before contemplating opening his own cider after a trip to England. At the recommendation of another cider maker, he took classes from an master cider maker before he opened Brownrigg Hard Cider in SODO, launching is new career.

“It probably has to be chalked up to a little bit of a mid-life crisis,” Brownrigg said, adding the career change was both exciting and scary, but it felt right.

Brownrigg is proud of his operations and the quality ingredients he uses for his ciders. All of the apples are grown in Washington state, some coming from his own orchard. The purees he uses to make the cider are culinary level, more commonly used in high-end desserts, he said. All the fermenting is done on site, and the syrups are made in house.

Brownrigg said his ciders are different from others because he develops recipes using his culinary background, working his way up in restaurants as a young man.

“I think every cider that is worthwhile is distinctive,” he said. “I think the cider maker should have their own distinct point of view and perspective.”

Brownrigg offers 12 ciders on draft, with a new recipe added every week. He said he enjoys coming up with different flavor pairings featuring fruit and spices that appeal to his customers, such as his popular cherry cardamom cider that always sells out. He also likes to use tropical ingredients like pineapple or pink guava, in some of his ciders.

“I always want to have a taste of the land, but I really do love tropical flavors, as well,” he said.

While he is content re-establishing his business at his new locations, eventually, Brownrigg would like to expand further.

“I would really like to have another taproom in another under-served cider neighborhood,” Brownrigg said, adding it would ideally have a little bit of outdoor space for tables. “The top of Queen Anne Hill would be awesome.”

Brownrigg Hard Cider hours are regularly Wednesday through Friday plus weekends, but because January is a slow month, Brownrigg Hard Cider will be closed on Wednesdays until mid-February, Brownrigg said.

Go to brownrigghardcider.com or facebook.com/brownrigghardcider to see the latest recipes on draft or for information on group tastings, sample requests and event hosting.