In a huge new deal with Dave's Killer Bread co-founder Shobi Dahl, Portland's Reverend Nat's Hard Cider will quintuple its cider-production capacity with a new cidery space that can pump out 25,000 barrels of cider a year.
According to an equity financing form filed in September, the new investment in Reverend Nat's amounted to $750,000. This will go toward a rapid expansion of the cidery.
In early 2018, Reverend Nat's will move its cidery from its current 7,000-square foot location at Northeast 2nd Avenue and Schuyler Street. The new production cidery at 1211 N Loring Street will be three times the square footage of the current spot.
Reverend Nat's moved into its current space in 2012, and founder Nat West says the cidery had long been stretched to its limits.
"My team has been looking for a larger cidery for more than a year, but we had very high expectations, including staying in the historic Albina township of Portland," West wrote in a press release. "Shobi approached me about a building he was looking to lease to an entrepreneur and we immediately found common ground. I couldn't be happier with the arrangement."
This happens in the same week that Voodoo Doughnut announced a gigantic expansion plan and investment by San Francisco Capital firm Fundamental Capital but were a bit squishy on the financial details, telling Portland Business Journal only that co-founders Tres Shannon and Kenneth "Cat Daddy" Pogson would retain "day-to-day" control and "significant ownership and influence in the company."
West is less equivocal: He tells WW the deal does not amount to an acquisition by Dahl, and that Dahl would not not have a controlling interest. But he also says that Dahl will be taking an active role in the company.
"Shobi isn't just a money guy. Having him join he team is really exciting," West says, saying that the cidery would retain its experimental character and would continue to put out limited-edition batches like the first-of-its-kind Sidra Bravo, which WW named one of our favorite ciders made this year in Oregon. "Shobi is really excited about what got us here. We're not making any big changes."
Two very big things will change, however. Reverend Nat's will be able to expand its cider distribution to the east coast and Europe, and the current Schuyler Street taproom will expand to fill most of the space formerly occupied by the cider tanks.
"The current taproom will become a much larger taproom," West says, "and then there will be a small stand-alone cidery, the same way as Deschutes [does] in Portland. We'll actually make more experimental stuff. Right now, experimental stuff gets pushed aside for the bread and butters."
West says the new pilot cidery will be under 10 barrels, and that this move will allow him to get back to doing some hands-on cider making, currently ceded to his team.
"Now we'll have a dedicated space where I can put on my rubber boots," West says. "We're going back a bit to the roots of the cidery."