Anna’s Cider is a family-owned craft fermentation house, producing natural beverages in an expressive and refreshing style. Husband and wife team Dominic and Anna O’Reilly founded the cidery in 2017 with the goal of producing hard ciders using natural and local ingredients, careful fermentation practices, and conditioning in a champagne style. The resulting products are dry (no sugar), clean, and very refreshing. Starting with the best ingredients, the ciders are fermented with a wide selection of yeasts and traditional fermentation practices, and then refermented in cans or bottles to produce those lovely bubbles, just like Champagne. Our ciders are similar to the traditional farmhouse styles of New England or Brittany, however, we employ very careful fermentation and cellar practices to avoid that nasty funk that can happen sometimes.
Cider has been our staple drink from the start, but in addition to the hard ciders, we also produce a line of traditional Mexican street drinks which include Tepache (brewed pineapple, citrus, and spices), Tejuino (brewed masa), and Pulque (fermented agave). We love to experiment with traditional (and not so traditional) beverages -SO, hey, throw us your grandma's recipes, and perhaps we'll make that too!). We always have a line of experimental trials going in our production space. We make our own adjuncts (fancy word for flavorings other than apples we may throw into the mix), which entails chatting with local farmers, wild foraging in the Los Padres or even in our backyard, spending lots of time peeling/chopping/juicing/grating, and just overall making things taste and smell a whole lot better than chucking in some nasty powder or chemical additive, from god knows where. We like to keep things natural, and so we deliver our ciders and other libations to you just as nature intended.
We're also foodies and health nuts (well, that's a stretch, but we like to eat good food, local, and always organic) and to that end we make sure our ingredients are ethically sourced, as local as possible, and always ready to join the fun happening on the dinner table, BBQ, camping trip, or whatever other adventures await. Almost everything we make is gluten and carbohydrate free (yes, seriously, you can be on Keto and still crush some cold ciders). It says so on the can, and we have lab reports to match.
(TL;DR we're determined af and do everything by hand)
Anna and Dominic bootstrapped the whole operation from the ground up, starting with tiny batches in a small storage building on their property, and working together on every aspect of the business. We still work together on everything and it's still a tiny operation.
Anna trucked the first load of apples in the family car.
We released our first batch of cider at the Core Pour Cider Festival in our hometown of Santa Paula, CA, in November of 2017. We were blown away by its reception, having half expected to be laughed out of town. We thought people would just want the sweet stuff. Everyone loved our cider, and our booth was packed all day with people coming back for seconds and thirds, and asking where they could buy it. After that event, with our confidence boosted more than ever, we immediately made a second batch and started selling it to local restaurants. Then the Thomas Fire swept through our property one month later. We lost our facility, all our equipment, and all our inventory.
We were determined not to let the fire stop us. With help from a kickstarter campaign, and local support, we rebuilt and were back in business by mid-2018, producing with more energy than ever.
Anna at the Central Coast Cider Festival in Atascadero
Anna (who had her fourth baby in March of 2018!) spent her evenings working on the books and her days on production: bottling, kegging, and labeling. Everything was done by hand. Dominic, still a winemaker by day, worked on new trials and blends in the evenings.
A family operation from Day 1. Keeping Anna company in the cellar.
Demand for our cider was growing: we knew we needed more space for production, and we wanted to open a tasting room. We landed on a historic building in downtown Santa Paula and started slowly renovating it to suit our needs. As always, we bootstrapped the renovations, doing most of the work ourselves.
We were on track to open our tasting room in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began. We weren’t going to let a pandemic stop us any more than we let the Thomas Fire stop us, and, against all odds, we opened our tasting room in August of 2020, just a few months behind schedule.
Opening Weekend, August 2020
Dominic and Anna O'Reilly