Cider Corner: Why Merging With a Custom Fermentation Facility Made Sense for Yonder

Yonder Cider is a relative newcomer to the craft cider industry, having just opened its doors in 2020, but its ownership has kept its collective foot on the gas pedal.

Despite ramping up in the Seattle area amid the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the small company has punched above its weight, maintaining a growth trajectory that has perpetuated a meteoric rise over the past three years. Yonder said it grew 240% in 2022, and it’s expected to produce an estimated 175,000 gallons in 2023 and eventual plans include building a second taproom and expansion to two more states. 

Big growth moves include starting the Yonder Bar, its shared Seattle taproom in partnership with Bale Breaker Brewing, and its most recent move — merging with The Source Cider, the cidery that has produced its cider since its inception.

Acquiring that company sets Yonder up for big things in the future, said founder and CEO Caitlin Braam, who said that it also enables Yonder to act as a champion for the industry.

“There’s no straight line at Yonder,” Braam told Brewer Magazine. “Nothing we’ve done so far is what I would consider a “normal” path for launch or growth, but that’s what Yonder is all about and what has driven our growth thus far. We take the road less travelled because it’s what feels right to us – whether that’s the apples we use, the inspiration behind our ciders or the taprooms we open. It’s never the easiest path, but it’s always interesting!”

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. 

“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 expanding our own brand,” Braam explained. “Up until now, we had separate equipment, our staff was jumping back and forth between the two companies, and there were lots of processes that were redundant or being duplicated. 

“There are definitely cost savings and less paperwork with them combined, but the true opportunity is a streamlined process and the ability for growth across the board. For Yonder, we’re currently only distributed in Washington State. This merger allows us to look beyond our current footprint and look for new expansion opportunities, whether that be new states, new taprooms and whatever crazy idea we come up with next.”

Braam said she has worked to help grow other companies her entire career, through marketing, branding, business development or production. 

“While I have my own brand now, The Source allows me to continue that work by helping people either realize their dreams of starting a cidery, enhancing a program they already have or achieve their growth goals quickly,” she said. “The Source will remain our custom fermentation and premium juice wing of the company, but I believe having it tied to Yonder helps show the potential and the quality that can be produced by our team and with our products. We’ve always been very open about the relationship between Yonder and The Source, and having them merged only strengthens that message.”

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