In the woods of northern Switzerland, a cidery inspired a couple to bring the brews to Colorado.
John and Ruth Dufresne are planning to open the 3,700-square-foot Waldschanke Cidery at 4100 Jason St. in Sunnyside by June. They looked at sites for one year before choosing this one. They will take over the property for renovations in March. The cidery will be near the footbridge for the new light-rail station at 41st Avenue and Fox Street, which John hopes will spur growth in the area.
The cidery will offer Swiss-style ciders, which are unfiltered versions of the drink. The name Waldschanke is the modern spelling of the Swiss-German word for forest tavern.
The Dufresnes were inspired to start their own cidery after visiting one with a similar name in Switzerland.
Ruth has a connection to the Waldschenke (original spelling) in Romanshorne, Switzerland. In the 1930s, her father worked there as a teenager, pouring beers. On one of her many trips back to the country, she brought her husband, who never had the drink before.
“There’s a long family history as far as enjoying cider,” John said. “That was one of my first exposures, this tavern out in the middle of the woods.”
He formerly worked in IT but was laid off in 2016. So the couple decided to pursue their dream of opening a cidery. His son, Keane, and Keane’s fiancée, Kelley Jones, are helping with the business.
John said Colorado’s active craft beer industry has helped make cider popular with enthusiasts. “Sixteen years ago, that business model (ciders) didn’t have any real traction here,” he said.
Waldschanke has a three-year lease, paying around $6,000 a month. John estimated that the family would put $250,000 into construction.
The Dufresnes looked at spaces in RiNo and South Broadway, but said the areas were pricey and too crowded.
John said half the space in Sunnyside will be used as a taproom, which will feature a selection of ciders from across the state.
“We want to expose as many people as possible to what’s out there in the state of Colorado,” he said.
The other half is dedicated to production space. John estimated that they will be able to make 3,000 barrels annually at Waldschanke.