If you can’t bring the food trucks to you, what if you brought the product to the food trucks?
That was at least one motivating factor for business partners — and partners in life — David White and Heather Ringwood, the two folks behind Whitewood Cider Co., an Olympia-based hard cider maker that has a well-established wholesale business in the area, but now seeks to do more retail business.
To get there, they are set to open a tasting room in the former Abby’s Cupcakes location at the corner of Plum Street and Fourth Avenue East. That site also is home to several food trucks, including the well-regarded Nineveh Assyrian. White and Ringwood think their ciders will pair well with the food being offered around the small site.
Ultimately, they see their tasting room evolving into a taproom, with a mix of Whitewood ciders and craft beers on tap. They also expect to serve ginger beer and the fermented tea product kombucha, Ringwood said.
Another impetus for the tasting room: A previous retail avenue for their business — Gravity Beer Market in Olympia — closed.
White acknowledges that he “drank a lot of beer during my recreation days.” He later discovered dry cider and was so smitten with the stuff he started a cider blog, created a North American cider map, studied the production process at Washington State University Extension in Mount Vernon, and then released his first bottles of Whitewood in 2013.
White said he thinks the business could have grown faster, but slow, steady and sustainable growth is much more manageable for two people.
To date, the product has been bottled in a 750-milliliter size, but he plans to switch to 500 milliliters to get his price point down.
“It’s also a better serving size for one person,” he said.
Apples used in their cider are from Eastern Washington or Eastern Oregon, although they also produced a limited release called South Sounder, which used apples from the Olympia area. Other bottles include Old Fangled and Newtown Pippin. Apple varieties used include Macintosh, golden, Northern Spy and winesaps, White said.
There’s still work to be done on their new tasting room. White said they are working with Tumwater-based business Windfall Lumber, which specializes in reclaimed and salvaged wood. Whitewood plans to use the Windfall product for its bar and table tops, he said.
Whitewood Cider Co.
▪ Owners: David White, Heather Ringwood.
▪ Tasting room location: 728 Fourth Ave. E. Olympia. The business also has a production space on Rich Road.
▪ Opening date: Whitewood is aiming for Aug. 15. The business will have seating for 12; outdoor seating is planned.
▪ Hours: To be determined.
▪ Employees: They expect to hire three to four people.
▪ Online: www.whitewoodcider.com.
White and Ringwood spent years in the local coffee business before producing hard cider. Ringwood still has a full-time job in that industry, while David is now working full-time at Whitewood. The business was recently recognized with a Good Food award for its Gibbs Farm cider.