A new cidery is looking to find out how Boulder feels about them apples.
BOCO Cider is set to open a taproom offering its apple-fermented beverages in Boulder later this month, finishing its takeover of Decadent Saint Winery’s former space at 1501 Lee Hill Drive.
The cidery moved into Decadent Saint’s 1,500-square-foot production space last May, leaving the unit’s anterior 500 square feet to the winery, which continued operating a tasting room there until March.
BOCO Cider founder Michael Belochi said he initially subleased the space from the winery after it moved to a larger production space.
“The luxury of the initial 10 months was that it let me focus on the details of production, licensing, equipment, developing formulas — all the things that end up being the heart of a manufacturing operation,” Belochi said.
After signing the lease, Belochi said he decided to purchase the unit. Records show he and his son Colton paid $505,000 last June for the 2,000-square-foot space.
Belochi was formerly a co-owner of the Boulder distillery Roundhouse Spirits (now Vapor Distillery), and began making cider at home four years ago. He eventually sold his interest in the distillery and took a class on making cider, where he learned that cideries do well in cities with a younger demographic and a heightened interest in gluten-free fare. (Cider is naturally gluten-free, Belochi said.)
He said he was shocked the town didn’t have a cidery, and decided to get the apples rolling himself.
In November, the business quietly debuted its cider when it sold its first keg to Boulder’s BRU Handbuilt Ales & Eats. Belochi hired sales rep Mike Palasciano, formerly the brand ambassador for Vapor Distillery, and cider maker Josh Smith, who also works with Bookcliff Vineyard and Decadent Saint.
Because BOCO’s ciders are unpasteurized and must be refrigerated, the business won’t wholesale to liquor stores. In addition to taproom sales, Belochi said the cidery will continue selling kegs to bars and restaurants that already have their own tap.
The taproom will open with a lineup of 12 ciders, including one made with only Colorado apples, one made with hops and a sour cider infused with kombucha. Belochi said he’ll also feature guest taps with libations from other Colorado cideries. He’s moved some of his cider to oak barrels, hoping eventually to offer a line of barrel-aged ciders.
“My goal is to more or less develop all my own flavors,” Belochi said. “I’m also really resolute on not using any artificial flavors — I’ll use Colorado peaches for a peach flavor. That makes it a little harder to scale up, but right now, I really want to be a boutique-y, fun, handcrafted, innovative place.”
BOCO’s ciders generally will retail by size rather than by flavor, selling at about $6.50 for a 10-ounce pour, Belochi said. The business also will offer tours of its production space.
BOCO won’t have the only cider taproom in Boulder for long; Washington-based Locust Cider also plans to open one this summer, according to the Daily Camera.
Other nearby cideries include Stem Ciders Acreage in Lafayette, The Old Mine Cidery & Brewpub in Erie, Wild Cider in Firestone and St. Vrain Cidery in Longmont. Washington-based Locust Cider also plans to open a cidery in Boulder this summer.
In the future, Belochi wants to expand the cidery’s distribution into bars and restaurants, as well as open up additional taprooms in local areas such as Lyons, Superior or Westminster.
BOCO Cider’s tasting room will hold a soft opening in May, after which it will be open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated when the taproom is expected to open. It expects to open later this month (May).