Jul 02, 2014
by GREGG MORRIS CBN Feature Writer
Atlas Cider Company recently celebrated their one year anniversary with live music, good food and of course, hard cider at their Southeast Bend storefront. Local bluegrass favorites, the Moon Mountain Ramblers, provided the music as Owners Dan and Sam McCoy looked back at their first year and prepared for their present of another cider tank. The new tank will double their cider production as they prepare for the busy summer months.
“What has surprised me is all the tiny aspects that go into running a business,” explains Dan. “I really believe every little thing the company does or does not do sends a message out to the consumer.”
A typical day for Dan may include meeting with a local business owner, planning an event, or kegging and bottling cider at the cider house. Most duties are split between Dan and Sam, and sometimes executed with their four year old son, Atlas, or year-old daughter, Arden in tow.
“I hope people can sense that we are truly are an authentic family-run and owned business,” continues Dan.
For all of their hard work, Atlas has positioned themselves as the fastest growing cider company in Oregon. Gaining more and more fans each day, their distribution reach has grown out of Oregon and into Southern Washington. They have sponsored high profile Bend festivals such as Winterfest, and will pour cider at Bend Brewfest later in the summer. Each of their four ciders was recognized at the Great Lakes Cider and Perry Competition, held this spring in St. John’s, Michigan.
Hard cider is a fermented alcoholic beverage, made from fruits, and originally brought by colonists to the Americas in the 17th century. Mass-produced hard cider companies, such as Angry Orchard, have been around for years, but usually contain preservatives and other additives. Craft hard cider companies, such as Atlas Cider Company, ferment from 100 percent fresh-pressed fruit, without the use of artificial flavorings.
“We offer a cider that is made from Oregon apples that are pressed and fermented at our location within 24 hours,” explains Dan.
Dan, formerly a middle school teacher, began as a home brewer. To improve upon his skills, he studied the fermentation of fruits at Washington State University. After a year of jumping through the necessary hoops, Dan and Sam realized their dream and Atlas Cider Company became a reality.
Dan points to the logistics side of the business as being the toughest. It takes a coordinated effort to match the bottles, labels and juice from their suppliers to their fermentation schedule, all in an effort to meet demand. Atlas Cider Company currently has three full-time and three part-time employees fulfilling all of the needed roles. Dan credits the hard work of everyone in the company as well as the late work nights in the path to success.
“We now have people specializing in the different aspects of the business,” illustrates Dan. “This makes us not only more effective in what we do but much more organized and efficient.”
Knowing that support from the community is essential to survival, Atlas Cider Company makes it a point to give back as well. They partner with and donate to many charitable organizations, such as the Humane Society of Central Oregon, Bend Spay and Neuter Project and Grandma’s House. To date, Atlas Cider Company has donated over $3000 to their partners.
“Sponsoring and being a part of local and Oregon-wide events has been one of the most rewarding aspects of owning the company,” says Dan.
Atlas Cider Company currently averages approximately 250 barrels of cider each month. That is roughly two and a half times last year’s production. Within a week or two, the new tank will be up and running and doubling production yet again. They currently bottle a Hard Apple Cider, a POM-Cherry Cider, a Hard Apricot Cider and a Hard Blackberry Cider.
Expanded hours Monday through Thursday 3-7pm, Friday and Saturday noon-7pm and Sunday noon-5pm.
Atlas Cider Company
Location: Cider House 900 SE Wilson Avenue in Bend
CEO: Dan and Samantha McCoy
Employees: 3 full-time, 3 part-time
Year Established: 2013
Products/Services: Authentic hard cider
Hot News: Celebrated their one year anniversary June 2014
Outlook for Growth: doubling production in second year of business.