Brian Koch is the owner of North Portland’s Lombard House pub, and like many others he is grappling with a pandemic, a pivot to delivery, and worldwide protests of an unjust system that have implications far more important than beer and bars.
Five-year-old Portland company Swift Cider is celebrating the grand opening of their first ever taproom this Friday, March 6th from 4-9pm. Located in a recently renovated new building at 100 NE Farragut Street #101, the taproom is across from the former Royale Brewing and shares a building with Happy Mountain Kombucha, Gron CBD Chocolate and coffee shop, Tanner Goods, and others.
The Swift Cider taproom marks the second new cidery taproom to open in Portland in the last year, following Alter Ego Cider. It also shows a move by cider producers to move more into retail and hospitality rather than fighting over shelf space with hard seltzer and the like.
“Opening the taproom means drinkers can taste the dozens of seasonal and small-batch barrel-aged ciders that we release in limited quantities each year,” says Swift founder and head cider maker Aidan Currie.
From their twelve taps, Swift pours a rotating lineup of their own ciders alongside craft beer, wine, guest cider taps, hard seltzer, kombucha, water kefir and CBD soda. “Our local neighborhood, Piedmont, was founded by prohibitionists, so there has historically been a limited number of bars here. We created a community space where you can appreciate great cider and all types of fermented beverages,” says Currie.
The 500 square foot taproom seats 39 in a warm industrial space notable for its timbers-trussed ceiling, stainless tanks, oak barrels, warm lighting, local art, and greenery. A discreet projector screens local sports while a shuffleboard table and stack of board games invites patrons to play.
Plans are in the works to add patio seating by summertime. To complement the drinks, Swift stocks a regular menu of snackable, allergen-friendly bites and plans to run pop-up food nights to showcase their favorite cider pairings.
During the Grand Opening Party, Swift will run cidery tours and let visitors explore their new digs in the newly renovated General Industry building, which houses a collection of local maker businesses. Their neighbor Happy Mountain Kombucha will also host a showcase of their new space down the hall. A Champagne toast is scheduled for 7pm that will kick off the music and dancing. All ages are welcome.
Swift Cider launched in 2015 and has grown into a regionally distributed cider brand in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. They have a mission to make exceptional cider with fresh, whole ingredients and inspire playful, creative communities like their namesake the Chapman Swifts. Their ciders have earned significant acclaim at the world’s largest cider competitions with 21 medals, including the Best Medium Cidery of the Year at the Portland International Cider Cup.
Their normal taproom hours run Thursday and Friday from 4pm to 9pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 9pm.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.