Reverend Nat's Hard Cider
After 12 great years, it’s time to move on. September 2023 will be our last month in business.
Please join me in the Taproom any time now until Sep 24 but especially on Saturday Sep 23 as we celebrate all the amazing ciders and great people who have contributed to our incredible successes. I have three final Tent Show releases to share with you all, plus our two non-alc ciders will FINALLY be in cans for sale. Home deliveries are still happening on Fridays at least through the end of September.
Back in 2004, a friend of mine had a large apple tree in his back yard. We made apple pies, apple sauce, dried apples and apple butter. And still there were more apples. “Why not make cider?” I thought, having never tried cider before. I had a vague idea about bubbling airlocks and glass carboys but no idea what it would taste like. I happened to have a 20-ton house jack in the garage and some old timbers, so a half a day later, I had cobbled together a working juice press.
I clearly remember the taste of the juice of that first apple. Sweet, rich, a bit tart, a bit nutty; I was hooked. That year I made 5 gallons of hard cider. The next year, 15 gallons. The following, 40. Six years later I had 500 gallons of supremely dry hooch in my basement and I was becoming an increasingly better cidermaker. (Not to mention an increasingly popular neighbor. Friends were stopping by at all hours for a pint on the porch or a mason jar fill-up to take home.)
As a die-hard craft beer revolutionary, I experimented with beer yeasts, wild fermentations, Belgian ale spices, aromatic west coast hops and local fruit juices. My search for superior ingredients to make unusual ciders was all-consuming. As an historian of cidermaking (I have the largest cider book library in Portland), I recreated forgotten cider styles and practiced juicing and fermenting techniques long out of fashion. Permeating all these experiments was a desire to make ciders that no one else will make. I would cook a dish, eat at a restaurant, drink a beer or a cocktail, or peruse the farmer’s market, and be unable to contain my excitement for flavors. After making cider for nearly a decade, I concluded that, while apple-only ciders define cider for most of my fellow countrymen, my passion was in creative flavor combinations making cider in the spirit of craft beer geeks.
I started Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider in my basement, moved into an abandoned warehouse near the Rose Quarter in 2013, a larger building in 2023, and recently into a Taproom on 35th Place and SE Division. Now I sell my ciders in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Colorado, Ohio and North Carolina, as well as British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, a little bit spread thin across Japan, and a little bit in Europe. We’ve had an incredible run and I met so many amazing people and shared so many wonderful experiences. It’s been the best job I’ve ever had.
The last few years has been hard on us with COVID closures, changing consumer preferences, the sputtering of craft beer overall, and the decline of Portland as a worldwide tourism destination. But there is not a single reason why we are closing, just a combination of factors. I am sorry that our loyal customers won’t be able to enjoy these incredible ciders any more.
THANK YOU to all of you. My mega fans (Symposium anyone?), Tent Show members, Taproom regulars, grocery store customers and taplist advocates. None of this would have been possible without your support. Thank you.
THANK YOU also to:
My great cidermaking team: Chris for Hellfire; Dwight for enthusiasm; Dawn for quality; Charlie for a lot of hard work; and Istvan for sticking with me until the end.
My great sales team: Delphina for bringing your hard work and creativity; Jason West for that fun ride in a pickup truck; Nate and Matt for running your own little Rev Nats island in SoCal; Matt for the Thanksgiving Day check-ins.
My delivery driver team of Sol, Emily, Brad, Kristen and Jason for your amazing flexibility.
My Taproom team: Jim for getting us into the cool kids club; Nick for all the awesome collaborative ideas in the taproom; Gemma and CLB for your outstanding passion.
My earliest investors, for believing in a big idea and my later investors, for keeping that idea alive.
My industry friends: Jeff Alworth for including me as one of the best breweries in Portland; Sean the Beermonger for early encouragement; Jeff Smith for my first sale and Drew Worden for buying all my Hopricot; Adam Milne for great friendship and counseling; Joe Casey and Doug Rehberg for being fantastic neighbors; Bill Bradshaw and Pete Brown for recognizing Hopricot way back in 2012; Tyler Brown for teaching me how to use hops; Son of the Smith, sorry I can’t be around for more collaborations; Sean Burke, Mike Wright, and Alan Sprints for showing up to my opening night. That was very nice.
My great distributors: All the folks at George’s Dist for being the best distributor an out-of-state cidery could have; Ricardo Linares, I know you really cared; Michael Walcott, Red Gillen and Aoki Eiichi for showing me a new world; Markus for giving me the shirt off his back and Karl for making me feel welcome; Jay and Taylor at Artisan for finding something that works against many odds; Jimmy Werbin and Scott Willis for showing me how a good distributor works. I should have signed with you guys in the beginning.
And finally my family, Sarah and Beck. Thank you for letting me follow a crazy dream. I hope it was worth it for you too.
Beervana Blog: Reverend Nat’s Calls It Quits
The New School: Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider Announces Closure
Right at the Fork: Podcast #364 Nat West – Closing Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider
Craft Beer & Brewing: Nat West of Reverend Nat’s Cider Takes a Craft Brewer’s Approach to Cider Making