Nestled in the serene heart of Utah’s red rock country in Torrey, Utah, Etta Place Cider offers visitors a perfect combination of old-world charm and modern innovation through their hard cider creations. And it’s more than just a business, it’s a labor of love.
Owners and founders Ann Torrence and Robert Marc never planned to open a cidery. But having water rights on their homestead on the Fremont River eventually lead them to plant 90 different kinds of heirloom cider apples in their high-elevation orchards in Torrey.
Their small-but-mighty cidery on the west end of the town (700 W Highway 24 Torrey, UT) takes its moniker from the legendary Etta Place, who was the girlfriend of the notorious Sundance Kid. They and the Wild Bunch gang hid out at Robbers Roost. And much like its namesake, Etta Place Cider is a true trailblazer in the world of hard cider.
They’re committed to creating delicious hard ciders that capture the spirit of the American West. Their picturesque tasting room affords scenic views of Thousand Lake Mountain. Always willing to chat with visitors about their cider-making process, any visitor’s experience is enhanced by Torrence’s storytelling ability (she’s a writer and former researcher). And that friendly atmosphere combined with tranquil setting make for an unforgettable experience for anyone who visits.
What to do with the apples?
“So I now have 500 trees,” says Torrence. “Our plantings were selected for aromatics, flavors, acidity and tannins that separate an orchard-based cider from the rest.”
Those apples that many Americans have never heard of (let alone tasted), lead them down a path of distinctive creations that are turning heads in the cider scene. They create handcrafted and seasonal hard ciders featuring the fruits from their orchard and around southern Utah. Traditional cider-making techniques are employed, although Marc’s scientific experiments around what can be created from apples in as little as six weeks is right up his alley as a retired neuroscientist-turned-cider maker.
Some of their ciders are named for the awe-inspiring landscape that surrounds them–Grand Circle Semi-Dry and Camp Fruitah. Their best-selling Etta Place Dry is lightly carbonated and brut dry while other inspired bottles such as the Etta Place Gingered can be used in a cocktail that might otherwise be topped with ginger ale. Most treasured are the limited edition delights like Etta’s Reserve Fig Mead.
Having become known for its rustic charm as much as the delightful characters of the founders and their dedication to crafting exceptional ciders, Etta Place Cider has become a local treasure, drawing visitors and hard cider enthusiasts alike.
Bar license acquisition complete
“It’s official!!! Etta Place Cidery now has a taproom – we have a bar license! We just the met with the Commissioners of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services and persuaded them we are sufficiently serious and sober enough to operate Wayne County’s only bar.” This news was delivered to email subscribers the morning of November 30th.
The new taproom has been in the works over the past few months. It included the destruction of the Zion Wall that formerly hid the tasting room from view to make way for a larger and open taproom and an official bar license from DABS.
They plan to serve cider-based cocktails (featuring Etta ciders), delicious Utah beer and of course their own meads and hard ciders as well as flights. “We are using all Utah-produced spirits for our well liquors,” Torrence writes. (You’ll note that they lease space to Robbers Roost Spirits in the adjoining space.) It’s an exciting transition from the original tasting room and educational license they’ve been operating under and will allow visitors to truly see how versatile their ciders can be. The evolution will enable the cidery to open its doors to new collaborations, events and experiences for patrons.
“We will be hosting a series of fun events over the winter (trivia nights, game nights, guest chef appearances, etc.) after we get through the shakedown period.”
Taproom product launch
Etta Place Cider will kick off the celebration of the license and taproom by introducing a new product: raspberry-hibiscus session mead. At 6% ABV it’s not sweet and the couple feel that it will be amazing on its own and in cocktails.
Raise a glass to a new chapter of Etta Place Cider
Cheers to Etta Place Cider, Wayne County’s newest (and only) bar, by raising a glass to this new era of hard cider from Thursday to Saturday, 2.00 p.m. – 9.00 p.m.
“We are promising a very soft open, with all the hilarity and anxiety of figuring it out as we go. We will probably run out of something, be lacking an essential bar tool, or overload the power. We will still sell our bottled products in our retail shop, along with our merch and selection of groceries and snacks. The bottle shop will be open when the taproom is open. We can also open the bottle shop on other days and at other times by appointment, so just call and ask!”
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Heather King: Writer and lover of delicious food and drink in Utah and around the world. Anonymous food critic and writer for The Salt Lake Tribune, The Utah Review, Devour Utah, Utah Stories and more. Runs #LadiesWhoLunchSLC.
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